Occupy Wall Street On Its Way To Arizona
October 14, 2011

PHOENIX -- Occupy Wall Street protests have been reported in more than 100 American towns and cities – including Las Vegas, San Diego, and San Antonio in the Southwest.

On Saturday, the protest is set to come to Arizona with “occupations” planned in Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff. Protesters say they represent the 99 percent of Americans who have been left behind by the country’s economic growth. Which raises a question: Who are the other 1 percent – the top 1 percent?

There are 2.2 million people who pay taxes in the state of Arizona – 22,000 of which make up the top 1 percent.

Dennis Hoffman is a professor of economics at Arizona State University.

“And what does it take to get into the top 1 percent?” Hoffman asked. “It takes an income of approximately $400,000 and above.”

This top 1 percent pays about 20 percent of state taxes collected in Arizona.

The wealthiest Arizonans make or have inherited their fortunes from companies such as Discount Tire, Campbell Soup, Godaddy.com, and the for-profit education company, Apollo Group, which owns the University of Phoenix.

Every year the Phoenix Business Journal puts together a list of executives who run public companies, and in comparing these lists – one from 2006, pre-recession, and then another in 2010, in mid-recession – reporter Jennifer Johnson notes that in many cases the return of rising values in the stock market has been very good for the compensation packages of these CEOs.

“It looks like a lot of the CEOs have gotten the biggest raises in memory, really,” Johnson said.

In 2010, Freeport-McMoRan CEO Richard Adkerson was the highest-paid chief executive. His compensation package at the mining company was nearly $40 million.