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Arizona plan to lure Calif. CEOs getting flak

PHOENIX — A plan to lure California-based companies to the Valley is not being met in a friendly fashion by some.

California voters approved a $6 billion sales and income tax increase on high earners in November. Days later, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council made it clear they would help California companies leave the state.

Barry Broome with GPEC offered the top 100 CEOs in the Golden State a plane ride to Phoenix to see what the desert had to offer. Fifty-seven CEOss have replied and at least 11 are taking a serious look at Arizona.

“We’re not convincing people to move out of California,” he said. “Gov. Brown is convincing them to move out of California. We just want to make sure our region gets a shot.”

GPEC’s offer has certainly drawn strong reaction from California Governor Jerry Brown’s office. The Los Angeles Times reported that Brown’s spokesman, Gil Duran, said “Anybody that tries to convince you to leave the best and richest state for some parched desert outpost should be regarded with extreme suspicion.”

Broome said that, soon after Duran made that statement, California was rated the poorest state.

“Be careful with broad, sweeping statements. They may not be true,” he warned.

Broome said his strategy is risky and has drawn a lot of visceral attention to the market.

“It’s unfortunate that California is going in the wrong direction. California’s economy is important to the United States and Arizona. We think their business direction will destabilize the state.”

Broome said this situation is the most attention they’ve received from CEOs since the Super Bowl in Glendale in 2008.