Phoenix Mayor To Business Leaders: Fight For Our Kids
A jab at the state Legislature and business community came out during Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s State of the City address Tuesday.
Inside the Sheraton Grand ballroom, Stanton told hundreds of people that state lawmakers aren’t interested in listening to voters, teachers or parents, but they will listen to business leaders.
“And we need business groups to put more effort towards fighting for our public schools,” he said. “This year, I wish as much effort went into fighting for our children as went into restricting the state’s initiative and referendum process.”
The process he referred to was a bill backed by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and signed by Gov. Doug Ducey that would require “strict compliance” for citizen initiatives.
Stanton asked the business community to take a stronger leadership role in supporting public schools and said, “There’s not an inch of difference between the success of our schools, the success of our companies and the success of our city.”
Stanton wants to see Prop. 301 back on the ballot with an increase. In 2000, voters approved a sales tax hike of six-tenths of 1 cent, mostly to boost teacher pay. It’s set to expire in four years.
He also called for more emphasis on the West Valley. Stanton wants to copy Chandler’s Price Corridor, a stretch of Price Road that’s home to many big companies. Stanton said Loop 202 freeway construction provides an opportunity for an employment corridor in the West Valley.
“We are creating the South Mountain Technology Corridor near the freeway alignment in west Phoenix along 59th Avenue. It will be a great area filled with modern business parks for advanced manufacturing, business services and emerging industries,” he said. “This will be a game changer, not just for the West Valley, but for the entire region.
Stanton also told the audience of business, community and political leaders that the Phoenix council will soon consider investing in a 24-acre Health Solutions Innovation Campus in the northeast part of the city.