McCarville: We must defend ourselves from outside interests

Kirk McCarville, Pinal Central |

I have been in the business of real estate sales and development in Casa Grande for the last 36 years. During that entire time as we have competed for growth and industry, nine times out of 10 (or more) we lose to our major competitor Maricopa County for a number of reasons:

1. Taxes. Because they have captured so much growth being the fifth largest metropolitan area in the U.S., their tax base is so broad that their taxes are a third of what we pay in Pinal county. This is an extreme advantage when industry is looking at investing millions of dollars in plant and equipment and they can pay 66 percent less taxes in the Valley.

2. Infrastructure. During that entire 36-year period construction has never stopped at Sky Harbor or the freeway system. Infrastructure is the most basic component of economic development because site selectors seek shovel-ready sites primarily. A company that is looking to expand is not willing to wait for future road development when the need to receive raw material and ship finished product is immediate.

3. Political and Economic Power. We have virtually none when compared to the Valley. The boards of directors of the economic development agencies, banks and other institutions are populated by our competitors, who have their vast resources and political influence in place to crush any attempt on our part to compete.

Now we have become a threat to them. I have an office in the Valley and I can’t count the number of times I have heard “why would PhoenixMart go to Casa Grande?,” where the word Casa Grande is a pejorative. The same is true of LKQ, Lucid Motors, Dreamport Villages, Attesa, etc. It looks like we finally may have created some competition and they want to stop us before we get the national attention that is soon to happen.

This is the reason why the Arizona Free Enterprise Club is threatening to sue us and attempt to scare us into voting against Propositions 416 and 417. Good luck trying to figure out who they are (but it is obvious), as they are a dark money political action committee who are legally hiding their identity behind legislation that they no doubt helped to pass. Their website says that they are run by the executive director and board of directors. If you look at the Corporation Commission website, you will see that they are all the same person.

The passage of these two initiatives will self-finance over $600 million of basic infrastructure in Pinal County that is sorely needed to attract business and industry and help level the playing field. There is zero chance that either the federal or state government will do this for us.

And last, I grew up here in a family of seven children. I am the only one who still lives here. I have two sons, one in Texas and one in Brooklyn, New York. Even my own mother, when she decided to re-enter the workforce, had to move to the Valley for employment. Pinal County resembles my ancestral homeland of Ireland, whose greatest export was its people.

My father practiced law here for 54 years and was threatened with lawsuits on many occasions. His standard response was “won’t be my first rodeo, I’ll see you in court.” We need to find the courage and vision to advocate for ourselves, pass the propositions and if necessary go to the rodeo. I am betting on our cowboys.

Kirk McCarville is a real estate broker and former member of the Casa Grande City Council.