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Phoenix considers spending big bucks to woo businesses

PHOENIX — Being Arizona’s largest city isn’t enough to land a new company. Suburbs are attracting more companies with promises to waive fees, help covers the costs of streets and water lines and provide job training. Recent examples include Chandler offering eBay and PayPal up to $5 million in incentives while Goodyear offered $1.5 million to Dick’s Sporting Goods.

A report that Phoenix council members will review this week calls for the city to create a formal plan to attract more businesses and jobs.

The four key strategies:

• Invest in strategic land use planning and make capital infrastructure improvements in major employment corridors to enhance the inventory of ready-to-build employment locations

• Commit resources to job training

• Cultivate entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises

• Pursue redevelopment at strategic site locations throughout the city

• Develop new marketing strategies to sell Phoenix

According to the report, Phoenix’s Economic Development Department has helped more than 110 companies locate or expand operations in the city over the past three years. The city says the companies created more than 11,600 jobs with an average annual salary of $34,900.

Between 2007 and 2010, the Valley lost a quarter million jobs. So far, nearly half have been regained. Phoenix’s plan calls for spending $10-15 million a year and four staff members to support programs to attract businesses.