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October 21, 2010

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona Fall League

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  • For Major League Baseball, October means playoffs, but it’s also the month when every MLB team sends its best and brightest prospects to Arizona to compete in the Arizona Fall League. Executive Director of Fall League, Steve Cobb, explains what the league is all about.
  • Steve Cobb - Executive Director,Arizona Fall League

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Ted Simons: For Major League Baseball, October means playoffs. And while only a handful of teams are good enough to make it to the post-season, they all get to send some of their best and brightest prospects to Arizona to compete in the Arizona Fall Baseball League. Here with more is Steve Cobb, Executive Director of the Arizona Fall League. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Steve Cobb: Great to be here.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about the goal of the Fall League. What is the purpose?

Steve Cobb: The purpose of the league is to really focus on the elite players that are just at the cusp of making it to the major leagues. We bring all the players here to hopefully accelerate their progress. And most much our players are double A, triple A players, and are really knocking on the door to make it to the major leagues, so the purpose is to get as many of those players that are ready to make that next step to the next level.

Ted Simons: Who decides which players come here, and how do you decide what player goes on what team?

Steve Cobb: Well, we have a system where we work with the respective farm directors and they will work together to form a team. An Arizona Fall League teams consists of five organizations. We have rosters that have 35 men on each roster, and they're essentially all-star teams, but those farm directors get together and over a series of conference calls and put these teams together to showcase their talents here.

Ted Simons: And why is the valley the home for the fall league? How did that happen?

Steve Cobb: Well, really, Roland Heman is a valley resident, an executive with the Arizona Diamondbacks, it was his dream, his vision, to bring Major League prospects to one centralized location. And it just so happens that that location is Arizona. The facilities that we have here in place for spring training are second to northern, and the weather is perfect for baseball development. So it was really his vision to bring such a league here.

Ted Simons: And the atmosphere out there is wonderful. We were talking beforehand, back in the old days in Spring Training when it wasn't so crowd and games were always sold out, you could wander in and out. But with the Fall League, that it's same kind of atmosphere.

Steve Cobb: We pride ourselves on making it very relaxed for people to come and enjoy the game. And the seating is open, you can sit anywhere you wish. And it's just kind of a throwback time of baseball that we really enjoy. And it's fantastic to see the players, because not only are they accessible, but they are really playing hard to make that Major League roster next spring.

Ted Simons: Talk about some of the players. A lot of them in the fall league have gone on to Major League careers. Managers as well. Correct?

Steve Cobb: Well, we've had over 1800 players make it to the Major Leagues. And we're grateful for that, because we could have this league, but if the organizations didn't utilize it, those numbers certainly wouldn't be there. We've had players -- if I said a year ago Buster Posey, most people never heard of him. He was in the league last year and now obviously is in the post-season. Steven Strasberg, Jason Hayward, impact-type players, and then when you start talking about Albert Pujols, Jimmy Rollins, players of that ilk, we've had so many that have made it.

Ted Simons: So Major League Baseball owns and operates the league. Correct?

Steve Cobb: Absolutely.

Ted Simons: The -- so the idea of baseball going up against baseball, was that ever a concern, the fall league going against playoff games?

Steve Cobb: Well, the league was created to serve baseball's needs, to be very honest. It was created to be a domestic option for U.S.- born players, primarily. Before this league was created, players would have to go to Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, or Venezuela to play winter ball, and now we have this -- we've created this domestic option. What's interesting, while the focus is the U.S.- born player, we now have a record 27 foreign-born play there's are in the league. So it's also going hand in hand with the globalization of baseball.

Ted Simons: And you mentioned some past names that are big stars, certainly on their way up. I guess the big name for this season is Bryce Harper, huh? That's the kid everyone is watching?

Steve Cobb: He was the first player picked in this past June in the draft, and just -- just a tremendous talent. He played last night for the first time at Scottsdale Stadium, and his first three at-bats he did not get a hit, his last time, bases were loaded, hit a ball off the wall, almost went out, his first hit in professional ball would have been a grand slam.

Ted Simons: How much are tickets?

Steve Cobb: Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for children. And seniors are $5 as well. There's not a better deal in town.

Ted Simons: Can you get more information, is there a website?

Steve Cobb: Our website is

Ted Simons: All right. It's good to have you here. Have a good season. Thanks for joining us.

Steve Cobb: Thank you.

Conversation with Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D)

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  • Conversation with Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D)
  • Ann Kirkpatrick - U.S. Representative, District 1
Category: Vote 2010

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Ted Simons: For nearly two years, Democratic Representative Anne Kirkpatrick has served Arizona's Congressional District One, the 10th largest district in the country. It covers about half of the northeastern sides of the state. She's fighting to keep her seat with a tough challenge from dentist Paul Gosar. Gosar accepted an invitation to appear tonight on "Horizon," but several days ago he cancelled his appearance. Here now is Representative Anne Kirkpatrick. Good to see you.

Anne Kirkpatrick: Thank you very much.

Ted Simons: Mention that you were in kind of a tough fight here, you won last time, two years ago, things are -- what happened in the intervening time?

Anne Kirkpatrick: Well, you know, jobs and the economy has been an issue. When I took office in January of last year, we were immediately confronted with the worst economic crisis in two generations, and it was clear to me that jobs, getting people back to work was and continues to be the top priority. So I have been working on a couple of jobs projects in the district, one is the Forest Restoration Initiative that partners with the timber industry, taking the wood products from the thinning process and would create 600 jobs. That requires only federal action, no federal spending. Another similar project is the copper basins jobs project, the "Arizona Republic" had a good article about that this week. I've been working with senator Kyl and McCain that would bring 2,500 jobs. Copper mining jobs, to my district. And so fighting very hard, and I will tell you, I'm disappointed we're not having a debate tonight. I had asked Paul Gosar for five debates after the primary, four would be in the district, regionally strategic so that folks could get there. And then this one, I heard that he was going to show up, and debates are how folks get to know the candidates. And I'm just really concerned that what people don't know about Paul Gosar is going to hurt them. And on the jobs front, there are two things I think people should know. I opposed the tax credits to Wall Street and big corporations that ship jobs overseas. He supports that. He supports giving those tax credits to ship those jobs overseas. We need those jobs right here. The other thing is he said, you know, he don't really care that much about minimum wage. He's a millionaire and in this district, median household income is less than $33,000. I just don't think he understands this district.

Ted Simons: Those are two points that many Republicans would agree with, and as far as this campaign is concerned and this race for CD-1, there's a base question that has to go to the incumbent, especially if the incumbent is a Democrat. And that is, why should folks in your district say, I like the last two years, I want more.

Anne Kirkpatrick: Let me tell you why. This district as you mention, is huge. It's the 10th largest in the nation. And it's bigger than the whole state of Pennsylvania. It's a rural district. 84 small towns. But it is so vast and diverse, it has such different communities. Such as Sedona, and Superior. Prescott, and Window Rock. And to represent this district have you to be able to balance what is in the best interests of all these communities. And anyone who toes the national party line, whether it's the Republican or Democrat, can't well represent this district. So I've been an independent voice for the people in the district. Regardless of what my party says I should do.

Ted Simons: Is that why I believe you told the Arizona Republic Editorial Board that you would reject President Obama's support?

Anne Kirkpatrick: Yes. There are a lot of things I'm unhappy with. Spending is a big concern. And growing up in this district in rural Arizona, we've always known how to do more with less. And so when I went to Washington I said, you know, Washington needs to have an attitude adjustment. And I introduced my do more with less initiative. Part of that is a pay cut bill for Congress. First time in 77 years. And I don't know anybody who hasn't had a pay cut in 77 years. I oppose 72 $72 billion in spending, I've introduced amendments to cut the transportation budget by 5%. That didn't pass. And so I signed on to a balance budget amendment. I think we've got to keep an eye on the debt and the deficit. As you've heard, I'm sure, I already voluntarily pay 5% of my salary --

Ted Simons: why --

Anne Kirkpatrick: -- to the public debt.

Ted Simons: Why do you do that? If everyone did, that's one thing if one person does that, why do you do it?

Anne Kirkpatrick: I believe you have to lead by example. My parents always said, put your money where your mouth is. I was small business owner. And there were years when I had to ask my employees to take pay cuts, but I didn't do that until I first cut my own pay. And so I think as a nation, we're going to have to make some hard choices in the future about our debt and deficit. But Congress needs to lead by example before we can ask other people to take cuts.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about those choices. Should taxes be raised?

Anne Kirkpatrick: They should not.

Ted Simons: OK. Should reduce the payouts be considered regarding Social Security and Medicare?

Anne Kirkpatrick: They should not.

Ted Simons: Should other cuts to other critical programs maybe not so critical, should cuts to other programs be considered?

Anne Kirkpatrick: Right now we can't make any of those cuts. It's still about the economy. And getting folks back to work. There is a balance. I think there are things we can do to address the debt and deficit, but we can't do anything that's going to hurt job recovery. That's why I voted against cap and trade. I felt that was the wrong thing to do at this time when so many folks are still struggling to get back to work.

Ted Simons: But your opponent would say, and Republicans would agree, that the stimulus package is adding untold numbers of future debt piled upon future debt. The Stimulus Package was it a good thing?

Anne Kirkpatrick: It was. Even the Arizona Chamber of Commerce recently said that had we not done that, Arizona would have lost more jobs than we did. And so it was necessary at that time. And look, that was hard choice. But economists across the board, people who had advised the Clinton Administration, the Bush Administration, said if we don't do this, the economy is headed over the cliff into a deep dive, similar to the great depression.

Ted Simons: President --

Anne Kirkpatrick: we were able to avoid that.

Ted Simons: The president also had economic promises regarding the unemployment rate. And those don't seem to have come to pass. Again, 2% GDP growth, unemployment numbers seem to be stuck. Was it still the wise thing to do?

Anne Kirkpatrick: I really do. I stand by that vote. I did a lot of looking into it, and I think we did avert a huge crisis for this country. But I've always said, it's the American people that are going to turn the economy around. Not government. And I really believe that. And I think now the effort is giving small business the financial resources to expand their businesses. Everywhere I go in my district, small business owners say, we cut our salaries, but kept our employees. Now we'd like to expand, now is a great time to do construction. Can't get lending.

Ted Simons: But quickly, before I get to health care reform, when you talk about the bush tax cuts and those things, and the idea business needs more tax cuts, cash, a lot of economists will tell us on this program, they got the cash, they're just reinvesting, buying back stock --

Anne Kirkpatrick: The big banks are. We just passed a bill that will give small businesses the financing they need. But, yeah, the big banks, Wall Street, they're holding on to their cash.

Ted Simons: The Health Care Reform Plan. Why did you vote for it?

Anne Kirkpatrick: Again, I thought that was the right thing for my district. Let me tell you something, very unique about my district. I have the highest Native American population of any Congressional District in the United States. Nearly 25%. A key component of the Health Care Bill, and this doesn't get said enough -- is the reauthorization of the Indian Health Services Act. They've been fighting for that for 10 years. And in the reauthorization, it includes mental health services, which they've never had. So I was listening to that part of my district, and that goes back to, this is a very diverse district. But I saw a billboard the other day that said, health insurance for $49.99. Before we pass the health reform, who knows what that meant? But now we know that means parents who have insurance, can have their children with preexisting conditions like asthma, on their policies until they're 26 years old.

Ted Simons: Critics will say seniors could lose their doctors, that the Medicare could be cut, critics are saying it's too much government control. It's a big overreach.

Anne Kirkpatrick: You know, we had to do this. We had to do this. The cost of health care was rising at such a great rate, that it would basically going to be unsustainable for our country. We were not going to be able to be globally competitive. The other thing this bill does, these are in effect right now, is that I was hearing from people tragic stories, who had paid for their health insurance premium, they got sick and guess what they were cancelled. That can't happen anymore. I also was hearing from people who had some kind of illness, a car accident, where they had $250,000 in claims, and all of a sudden they were kicked off their coverage, or it was capped and they had to pay that out of pocket. That can't happen anymore. And so there are some very, very good things, but the bill is not perfect. The job is not done. I read the bill, and in reading it I realized there's still a lot of discretion in terms of the rule making. I put together a health care advisory board, in my district, across the district regionally and folks from all walks of life, to continue to work with me as we move forward to make this better and better.

Ted Simons: Last question, regarding immigration. And there's been no immigration reform under Democratic control here for the past few years. How come?

Anne Kirkpatrick: Well, let me tell you, I'm the only Arizona Congressional Member on Homeland Security. I've been down to the border, I've talked to the commanders on the ground, and it's clear to me that we have to secure the border.

Ted Simons: What does that mean?

Anne Kirkpatrick: Making it operationally secure. That means that we have lowered to such a minute rate, the people who are coming across illegally, that it's not dangerous for the folks who are living down there on the border. But we have to do that before we can address a national immigration strategy.

Ted Simons: Why can't democrats do that?

Anne Kirkpatrick: Well, I think --

Ted Simons: you've got the power.

Anne Kirkpatrick: I think we've made good progress. We don't get to that discussion until we've secured the border. I think finally Arizona made Washington listen to us. We came back in our -- for our August recess and I thought it was wrong that we had not addressed something about border security before we came back. So I pushed leadership to call Congress back into session, I was successful in that. We did pass a bill that will put a thousand more National Guard troops, more drones, will give us more resources to deport criminals. I'm a former prosecutor, I'm opposed to amnesty. And I think that criminals should not be allowed into our country. And those folks who are here who have committed crimes should be deported. And so we have made progress, but I don't want people to think the job is done. We have not controlled the border. We have not fixed the problem.

Ted Simons: I guess the question I always ask when I hear that, control the border, then let's work on it, at what point is it secure? There are some folks say, right now most folks in southern Arizona are as safe as they've been.

Anne Kirkpatrick: Here's the thing. Talk to the people who are down there. There are sectors of the border where people do feel secure. Most of California, it's OK. Yuma sector is good. Tucson sector is not. You talk to the ranchers, when they tell me, look, Anne, I'm concerned about going out and doing my ranch chores, because I don't want to leave my family alone in the ranch house, we've still got a problem.

Ted Simons: We have to stop it right there. Thank you so much for joining us.

Anne Kirkpatrick: Thank you. I wish we could continue on for another hour.

Ted Simoms: I do want to remind our viewers, Paul Gosar did accept an invitation to appear with Anne Kirkpatrick on "Horizon" for debate, but several days ago he did cancel that appearance. Representative, good to see you.

Anne Kirkpatrick: Thank you, Ted.

Intel Investment in Arizona

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  • This week, Intel announced it will be making a 6 to 8 billion dollar investment to expand and build the next generation of computer chip fabrication facilities in Arizona and Oregon. The plan includes upgrading two facilities the company currently operates in Chandler. Intel Government Relations Director Jason Bagley provides additional details.
  • Jason Bagley - Government Relations Director for Intel
Category: Business/Economy

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Ted Simons: Intel announced earlier this week that it was adding up to 1,000 permanent jobs in the United States and up to 8,000 construction jobs as it starts its new chip manufacturing process. A number of those jobs will be here in Arizona as Intel upgrades two manufacturing plants in Chandler. Here to talk about the move is Jay Bagley, Intel's government relations director. Good to see you. Thanks for joining us.

Jay Bagley: Thank you. Happy to be here.

Ted Simons: What will these -- we talk about a revamp and upgrade, what's going on with these plants?

Jay Bagley: So Arizona, we have been very successful in positioning our site here to be got-to site for introducing new products, so up in Oregon, which is our developmental factory, we figure out the next product, we cook up the secret sauce, and we do a technology transfer to a high-volume manufacturing site, which is what we have here in Arizona. And so we have successfully positioned ourselves to be the first place, the leading spot in the company to introduce new products to the market. What this announcement means for Arizona is that for the first time we're going to convert both of our factories in Chandler to the 22 nanometer technology process, which is the next generation of technology that we'll be introducing to the market.

Ted Simons: How does that impact things like mobile devices, and P.C.s and these things?

Jay Bagley: It's going to have a tremendous impact. 22 nanometer really refers to the size of the transistor on the chip, what open and closes and serves as the gate for the information that goes through a chip. As we get smaller and smaller, we increase dramatically the capability of our processors. So we can do it at lower heat, we can conserve battery power, so it enables much more computing for much lower cost, and so it's going to have a dramatic impact on a number of new areas within the computing marketplace.

Ted Simons: Dramatic impact as well as speaking of enabling. Tax relief for manufacturers here in Arizona, talk about how that played into Intel's decision.

Jay Bagley: How companies like Intel, any other manufacturer, any business, how they're treated in terms of tax burden, and so forth, is a huge impact on decisions where Intel invests. So here in Arizona the state has done a pretty good job of creating a competitive environment for companies like Intel to invest. And the state's done that by addressing a couple of big disincentives that had been in place before. One, in the property tax arena, where here in Arizona, the state does not have a competitive business tax climate at all. When the typical business is paying double the rate of a homeowner, and it is grossly out of line with competing states and other geographies. Intel has been able to locate our factory site, which have an extraordinary amount of equipment, they're high-dollar, very capital intensive investments, in a foreign trade zone, which is a federal program that manufacturers are -- if they qualify, they're able to participate in, and level the playing field for U.S. manufacturers and foreign manufacturers. Here in Arizona, the state also provides a reduced burden, reducing the assessment ratio down to 5%. Given the fact Intel's investments are so capital intensive, so expensive, the valuation of those sites actually it works out to where we are still paying considerable amount of property tax. The other side of the equation deals with the corporate income tax rate. So Arizona's done two things that have a tremendous impact on Intel. One is a couple of years ago the legislature and the governor signed an own enhancement of the current R&D tax credit. And what that does is any company that qualifies under the federal definition of that program is eligible to receive that credit. And that encourages all kinds of investment. Intel is in the middle of a $100 million conversion of our original FAB 6 location for research and development, and it's create ball game 300 construction jobs, about another 200 Intel jobs. We're in the middle of doing that right now. And we spend about $450 million a year in Arizona. The other aspect is sales factor. The legislature in 2005 enacted the sales factor legislation, which dramatically impacted the tax burden that companies like Intel, where we have a highly paid work force, where the equipment that we locate in our facilities is extremely expensive, each one of our tools will run 20, 30, $40 million in our -- and our factories are full of them.

Ted Simons: We've got about 30 seconds left. I wanted to ask you, these incentives, we have people that appear on the program and they say it's not fair. It's simply -- it's not leveling the playing field, you guys are getting breaks that the other company, the other business doesn't get. How do you respond to that?

Jay Bagley: Intel is not like every other business. The jobs that Intel creates are not like every other job. The average total compensation for an Intel employee in Arizona is $122,000 a year. The single greatest thing that Intel can do to help provide tax revenue for the state, for the city, for the municipalities and so forth is to provide high-wage jobs. Comparing an Intel FAB with the level of investment, the equipment, the cost associated with that, it is not like an office building. And they should not be treated the same.

Ted Simons: All right. Very good. Thank you so much for joining us.

Jay Bagley: My pleasure.