Archive for March 5th, 2009
What can the Valley do to better position itself to succeed once the recession is over?
Diversify our economy and work with public sector leaders to create sensible, new programs that bring high-wage industries to Arizona. During the last decade of the real estate explosion, Arizona was one of the leading job-producing states. Over the last two years, we have fallen to 49th in terms of new job creation. Business as usual will not work. Now is the time to change our metrics and compete for other industries to migrate to Arizona.
You’ve seen first hand how important professional sports are to the local and regional economy. How can the Valley capitalize more on that in the future?
Sports are important to Arizona and we need to support what we have now. But, again, we need to focus on diversifying our economy. Like a personal stock portfolio, we cannot become “over-weighted” in any single sector. We have all the teams we need, but it will be important to attract events with significant economic impacts and exposure like the Super Bowl in the future. Our regional success will depend largely on creating a diverse and vibrant economy around many new industries and we can’t look to real estate or sports to take us out of this downturn.
You will start seeing some interesting things about our vaunted Visitors Bureau in the near future. Here’s one from the Star this week.
Green Valley booster groups want their share of bed tax
By Daniel Scarpinato
arizona daily star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 02.17.2009
PHOENIX — Green Valley businesses want tourists to know who they are, and they’re trying to change state law to make that happen.
The House Ways and Means Committee advanced a bill Monday that would allow the Pima County Board of Supervisors to divert money generated from the county’s hotel bed tax to the Green Valley-Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce, or any other local commerce group, for that matter.
State laws gives Pima County supervisors authority to levy a special tax on hotels and motels in unincorporated areas. The tax brought in more than $8 million last year, with 50 percent funneled to the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The law, though, says only one “recognized tourism promotion agency” can receive the funding. That’s where state Rep. Frank Antenori, R-Tucson, wants a change.
HB 2487 would allow the board to give the money to more than one promotion agency, a distinction being pushed by Green Valley residents.
Former state Rep. Randy Graf, co-chair of the Green Valley-Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce’s governmental affairs team, said the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau does little to promote Green Valley, even though tax revenue from that region is funding the organization.
“It’s the same thing as people in our area sending our money to Phoenix and fighting to get it back,” Graf said.
Graf said other unincorporated areas, such as the Catalina Foothills, are more closely tied to metropolitan Tucson. He called Green Valley a 45-minute “day trip” and said the region would like to more aggressively promote itself.
Barry Aarons, lobbyist for the Metropolitan Tucson bureau, said the bill would “Balkanize” the pot of money and hurt the entire region. “Everyone will see a pot of gold,” he said.
Aarons said the bureau is willing to work out issues of fairness about how the money is spent.
Even if the bill passes the full House and Senate and becomes law, the Green Valley chamber would need to make its case to Pima County supervisors, who still would control the revenue.
As you will see from my previous posts, I find the MTCVB rather wanting. In review, they are a $9 million plus organization(funded mostly by tax dollars) with over 60 employees who are constantly kissing the resorts posteriors and failing greatly at marketing this great destination(which benefits all of their members and municipalites). See the other posts under “Tourism” for more details.
This story with Green Valley unhappiness with their support is pretty typical stuff. With a majority of their money coming from the county and city, their attitude towards the outlying area is to be expected.
Green Valley, you’re not alone. Over the past few years, Oro Valley has had their fill of CVB indigestion. They have cut their funding twice in the last couple of years and shorten the terms of their typical contract. Now, in the midst of the current economic mess, OV is mulling over the next funding level. The MTCVB has already threatened OV with pulling their support from the El Conquistador if they don’t bump their funding. When the funding was cut in the past, we had the honor of their CEO J. Walker complaining that OV doesn’t care about the El Conquistador/tourism. He conveniently forgot that OV provides a bed tax rebate of some $300,000+ to the El Con over a 10 year period. I don’t know of any other company in Oro Valley that is going to receive $3 million+ from OV (plus the minimum $120,000 a year to the bureau).
It will be interesting to see how they pull their support from the El Conquistador. The visitors bureau has members who are definitely not in the taxing districts they pull money from. Will they be treated better than the El Conquistador, one of the area’s cornerstone resorts from a town that actually gives them money? This will punish those rebels from Oro Valley!
From their own visitors guide:
Out of Africa Animal Park-Camp Verde, Arizona
Tombstone Epitaph- self explanatory
Price Canyon Ranch- Rodeo, New Mexico!
Los Viajeros Inn-Wickenburg, Arizona
Enjoy Tucson Guidebooks- Scottsdale,Arizona
There are others in the guide. Just pick it up at their visitors center. Keep an eye out the next few weeks, it might be very interesting.
PS. I also love the Visitors Bureau is paying a lobbyist with taxpayer dollars to lobby the representatives of the taxpayers when someone screws with their funding. It sounds just perfect for them.
Bottom of the 9th, bases load and Casey’s at bat! From today’s Tucson Citizen (sports page in case you missed it);
“The Rockies have fielded six proposals from entities for a possible move, but have yet to receive a proposal from Tucson.”
“Nearly a week ago, the D-backs sent requests for proposals for spring facilities to six entities. The Rockies are gathering information more on a case-by-case basis, McGregor said.”
No proposals from our local governments?!
And the comments:
5. Comment by zona t. (zonatic) — March 5,2009 @ 11:50AM
Ratings: -3 +27
Tucson will remain an abscure little-big town until its citizens and leaders inject the area with infrastructure that will attract and retain world-class events and orginizations like pro sports teams. There’s no committment from city leaders. Sadly, the local economy will further suffer. You can’t hardly find a hotel room in the PHX area during spring training. Tucson’s problem with getting big things done is perplexing.
6. Comment by jim f. (zjimi13) — March 5,2009 @ 11:50AM
Ratings: -0 +20
with the city doing nothing to preserve core government services it would be difficult to see them proposing new stadium deals, however with the city being completely reliant upon sales tax and only sales tax as a source for revenue it seems self-defeating to continue to allow teams to leave the area. My only wish is that there was a clear vision as to where Tucson was heading from public officials.
11. Comment by Arnold B. (ArnoldB) — March 5,2009 @ 1:50PM
Ratings: -4 +20
As a lifelong Tucsonan, I think the city has actually regressed from what it was 20 years ago. There’s just not much life left in the place, except for the UofA, really. Very few big-time events at the TCC, the mid-town areas are run down and full of cyclone fences. Duplexes are all taken over by property management firms who don’t repair anything unless they HAVE to. This town is ugly. There are more COP cars on the streets now than pedestrians and even the COPs cars don’t match !!!! City buses running everywhere and clogging the two-lane streets.
It’s just a nasty little town anymore that, when it had a chance to grow up and be something, elected and appointed a lot of self-interested types who didn’t care much about anything outside of their narrow, cultural interests.
Violent crime and theft are rampant here, and crack and meth have just worn this place out.
If I were involved in this baseball fiasco, I would leave Tucson, too. It’s just not a very nice place anymore.
12. Comment by Ralph A. (MyVoiceHeard) — March 5,2009 @ 1:50PM
Ratings: -0 +16
Tucson officials are tongue tied, not sure what to do. They screwed around, wasting lots of years, where they should have been attentive, and were not. Tucson just does not have any solutions for any issues. Noone that should have the authority does anything, just sits on their hands. It is sad to see the city declining fast, as events leave the city, less people will vacation or visit here. Wake up TUCSON>
22. Comment by Jim K. (jimkelley) — March 5,2009 @ 2:43PM
Ratings: -1 +8
Is it any wonder that towns like Oro Valley and Marana are distancing themselves from Tucson? These city governments have evolved into thriving communities with their own events. I’m amazed how anyone could vote the same problems into office…Rio Nuevo..enough said.
33. Comment by Otto R. (eagle eyes) — March 5,2009 @ 4:43PM
Ratings: -1 +5
Spoiled brats leaving town, big business avoiding crime ridden and high tax Pima county, and the taxpayers, most of whom are just trying to make their way through life, are stuck with financing the salaries and retirement plans of the public workers who contribute little or nothing to the quality of life here. It’s only going to get worse until something changes to attract the things necessary for a well balanced and healthy community. We’ve seen the results of voting for people with a (D) next to their names, but that will not change in Tucson, which seems to pride itself on being a Democratic stronghold. Enjoy the scenery.
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