Valley leaders are talking to 14 different California companies about moving to Phoenix in a decision that could lead to more Valley jobs in as soon as six months, according to the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.
California voters passed Proposition 30 a few months ago and that hiked up taxes so much that companies are on the hunt for a new place to plant their businesses, and Arizona might be the perfect place to grow.
Craig DeMarco with Upward Projects owns five restaurants in central Phoenix including Federal Pizza, Postino Winecafe, Churn and Windsor. He said he has had firsthand experience running a business in California and chose to come back to Arizona.
"We decided to go and expand in California, it didn't work out well for us so we came back to Phoenix," said DeMarco. "Our City Council and our mayor have been extremely supportive of our new development. They love seeing us open new stores and made it really easy to work through the city processes. It's a great place for hiring."
"Getting to the CEOs is very important because we want to convince the CEOs that we should be on their list of options," said Barry Broome, the president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.
Broome said they are not only reaching out to the CEO's but they are also presenting the Valley as a place for their families to grow.
"We show them home selections, help them meet with and evaluate schools," said Broome.
But Arizona has competition. In a recent radio advertisement released by Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, he was also appealing to those businesses looking to leave California.
"This is Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and I have a message for California businesses. Come check out Texas," he said in the advertisement.
Broome said cities like Austin and Dallas are usually at the top of the list.
"The fact of the matter is, Arizona is better than Texas, but when you talk to a CEO, he or she has already assumed Texas is a top option," said Broome.
He said since they started targeting California businesses a few months ago, they now have over a dozen CEOs interested in moving here.
"We started off with 57 companies and we are down to 14 companies, 14 companies that are leaving California in the next two years, 14 companies that now have greater Phoenix on a short list," said Broome.
For a business man like DeMarco, it's an easy choice.
"Since we've opened the city has gone to the extremes of even shrinking the number of lanes on Central Avenue and putting bike paths in for us," said DeMarco. "Almost across the board your expenses are way up and that's harder. In Phoenix, it's just less expensive to do business."
The Greater Phoenix Economic Council wants to create better branding for Arizona and then use between $10 and $15 million in state money to promote Arizona in California.
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