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Tucson Mayor: Incentives can attract jobs but must put tax payers first

Posted at 5:24 AM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-09 20:10:41-05

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild actually danced into his 2018 State of the City address at the Tucson Convention Center to Justin Timberlake's 'Can't Stop the Feeling'. But the mood quickly changed and Rothschild had to address some tough economic news.

Rockwell Collins, an aviation industry manufacturer, announced Thursday it will pull out of Tucson, cutting roughly 400 jobs. Rothschild says he and city staff are have reached out to Rockwell Collins’ parent company.

“But if their decision to leave is final that's all the more reason why we need to double down on our economic development,” he said.

The mayor touted the economic success the city can realize if it offers incentives to businesses as a way to bring jobs to the area.

“I want to remind everyone that these incentives don't come without safe guards. Developers can't benefit until they deliver on their promises and, always, always, tax payers must come out ahead.”

Rothschild said one of the biggest challenges Tucson faces is a financial one. He says contributions to the public safety employees’ pension fund will account for 15% of the city's general fund. He accused some state laws and current bills of threatening the city’s sales tax base.

“Efforts like this, that seek to undermine the financial stability of cities, where we all live, must stop and I’m calling on all of you to help stop them,” Rothschild said.

Rothschild said he wants Tucson to be a place where companies doing business in the U.S. and Mexico choose to establish their headquarters, to establish Tucson as an arts and music hub similar to Austin, TX, and a place where green technology thrives.  

“2020 is less than two years away. Let’s look at where we're at today and where we want to be then with clear eyed 2020 vision.”