Gov. Jan Brewer on Thursday said that business owners play a big part of what she calls the "Arizona comeback."
Brewer delivered a speech and took two questions from the audience at the Hilton Phoenix/East Mesa during an economic forum sponsored by the Mesa Chamber of Commerce.
"My philosophy is that government needs to get out of the way and let you, our true job creators, grow your businesses the way you want to," Brewer said.
Brewer said that two of her first initiatives as governor - a moratorium on new business regulations and creation of the Arizona Commerce Authority, a quasi-public organization to replace the state's commerce department - has helped add 20,000 jobs in Arizona in the last year.
She stumped for changes in the tax code, particularly a reform of the business property tax, and education funding reform that rewards schools' graduation rates, not enrollment.
"Jobs will be returning, but at a slower pace than Arizona has typically seen before," Brewer spokeswoman Tasya Peterson wrote in an e-mail to the Tribune. "We're expecting to cross over either in late fall or early next year into a positive growth side of job creation."
Peterson said that health care will likely see the most employment growth, adding that Arizona's growing solar industry should provide a critical jobs engine.
In her speech, Brewer touted a new solar-technology manufacturing plant in Surprise.
"Arizona is making significant progress to become the global leader in renewable energy technology," Brewer said.