It's fitting that we have children here today. Children remind us of our obligations. Citizens pay their taxes and in return expect their money to be managed wisely. If we fail to be wise today, our children will bear the brunt tomorrow.
These are tough times, different than any era that our country, our state and Phoenix has faced in our lifetimes. We have less money and more need. And it is not a brief blip on the radar screen.
We have seen our neighbors lose their homes and board up their businesses. At the same time, we have seen more neighbors helping neighbors, simple things like kids mowing lawns for seniors, people volunteering for charity and families preparing meals for neighbors in despair. Our world has changed forever, and our city has an obligation to change with it.
We have entered into a new era, an era of obligations, to our citizens, to taxpayers, to our neighbors, to our schools and to our children. The one thing we have in common is we all need is hope.
Years from now, our citizens will be asking: What did we do to fix the problems and take advantage of the opportunities that this Great Recession revealed? Did we just hunker down, expecting another cycle of good times? Or did we look at our structure, our institutions, our system of doing business, and come up with something better, something with a more hopeful future?
Our children will ask: Did we just protect our comfortable way of doing things, or did we look for more effective, practical and sustainable ways that would work in this changed environment?
My vote on this Council will be for change, and change for the better.
December of 2009 this council passed the most comprehensive regulatory relief for small business of any city in the State of Arizona. But, we must do more. To survive and prosper in this new world, Phoenix must be the best place in the country, in the world, in which to do business and live.
That means a spirit and system that makes starting and running a business here not a bureaucratic maze with snares and barriers, but a straightforward, uncomplicated, help-oriented, business-like operation. Our city must be lean, agile and responsive, unburdened by bureaucracy and a "that's the way we've always done it" mentality.
Phoenix must shed non-essential functions and processes to focus our energies and resources on those things that touch the public. We must protect those functions that protect us. And, that means the preservation and possible enhancement of front line firefighters and police officers. Yes, this will be controversial and it will require that tough decisions be made and this discussion needs to start right away.
Our economic turnaround depends not only on us doing a good job, but also on hope and confidence. When people are hopeful and confident, they're more likely to invest in our businesses, our homes, our neighborhoods and our community -- and this in turn will create more stability in our budget.
That means if a business owner comes in one day with plans to expand their business, they need those plans vetted right away, not in two weeks or next month. Every day not in business is a day at least one person, and usually more, is not employed. It is hope delayed, which is economic recovery delayed and it is also stability in our budget delayed.
The public has taken care of us. They have fulfilled their obligation. Our obligation is to take care of the public. We can no longer go to taxpayers for more money. They have done their share and they are hurting in ways that most cannot comprehend. We must look internally for a budget solution.
Our citizens believe in Phoenix, and they have confidence in us. Our No. 1 goal is to use our citizens' resources based on the best interest of their economic health.
This next year will be a trying time for this Council. We have a tremendous responsibility on our shoulders. Collectively this council is hard working and dedicated to resolving issues that face our city and it has my commitment that my office will be a part of those solutions that will move our city to the top. Our goal is to finding solutions that point us in a direction that will make our citizens proud and prosperous. You have my commitment that I will be looking for that change, that direction that shapes a city and moves us to a better place.