As the economic development manager for Pinal County, my primary responsibility is to attract new business to our region. From local businesses looking to expand or out-of-market companies looking to relocate, our job is to do what we can to make our cities and towns as attractive as possible as these executives make their business location decisions.
And without exception, each and every business leader we speak to emphasizes the importance of a qualified workforce as among the top considerations when looking to relocate or expand a business.
That is why I, along with my economic development colleagues around the region, were so deeply disappointed to learn that the majority of education bond proposals that were on our ballots this month were defeated at the polls.
All elected officials and our residents tell us that they want new businesses in our communities. To attract the kinds of businesses that generate quality jobs, new tax revenues and other positive economic impacts that benefit all Pinal County residents, we have to demonstrate that our cities have a quality workforce to support these new jobs. And that starts with making an investment in our K-12 school systems.
Investing in education should not take place only once every two years at the polls. Education should be top-of-mind at all times for everyone who lives in Pinal County. Our elected officials have a responsibility to make education a priority in our county. The private sector has a responsibility to make education a priority in our county. And our residents have a responsibility to make education a priority in our county as well.
Since 2013, more than $8 billion of new private capital has been invested by new companies that have come to Pinal County, and there are many more on the way. But to keep this positive momentum moving forward and to continue to be attractive to business, we must ensure our schools are adequately funded.
Our future depends on it.
Tim Kanavel is economic development manager for Pinal County.