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Phoenix hoping incentives attract scientific businesses

PHOENIX — The city of Phoenix is aiming to lure more science and technology businesses by using incentives, city officials said.

“Our future is dependent upon attracting and retaining a greater concentration of science-, engineering-, technology- and innovation-based employers that employ quality talent,” said Bruce MacTurk, deputy director of the city of Phoenix community and economic development department. “The city strives to be the best in class when it comes to being a lower-cost, business-friendly, customer-service driven community of choice, with a large, rapidly growing and diverse workforce.”

The city provides workforce development and technical assistance programs to businesses in order to reduce costs, according to MacTurk. These programs not only reduce cost, but also help to expand their markets, causing many businesses to move to Phoenix.

“Within Phoenix alone, over 40 companies have relocated to our city over the past few years,” MacTurk said. “These are wealth-generating companies, employers that primarily export their products and services outside of our city and region.”

Though the city is involved in the expansion of the Phoenix business sector, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council is responsible for a vast majority of out-of-state businesses relocating to Phoenix, according to Kedrick Ellison, project manager for the city’s Community and Economic Development Department.

“They receive money from municipalities to look at the region that we have,” Ellison said. “That’s their focus.”

According to the Greater Phoenix Economic Council website, “Arizona frequently passes additional measures during its legislative session to help promote a business-friendly environment.”

Among the incentives created are data center tax exemptions on equipment and construction, a 75 percent tax reduction for foreign trade programs, and a research and development tax credit.

The Arizona Commerce Authority, another development organization that aims to strengthen and expand Arizona’s economy, helps businesses who want to start or relocate to Phoenix by offering many of the same programs GPEC does, while also offering its own distinct programs and incentives.

One of the ACA’s distinct programs is its Small Business Technology Transfer Program. The STTR helps businesses by providing them with funds from organizations such as the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation for businesses that conduct research.