Bottom Line

2012


The 2012 Hamer Awards
Dec. 20, 2012

It’s that time of year to hand out some honors for the year’s best. So it is without further ado that I bring you the Third Annual Hammer Awards

It's complicated
Dec. 7, 2012

One of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry's top legislative priorities for 2013 is to simplify our state’s sales tax system. Our sales tax is so complicated that you might be surprised to learn that Arizona does not technically have a sales tax. Rather, we have a transaction privilege tax (TPT), something that requires certain merchants to pay for the "privilege" of selling taxable items and a use tax, which is aimed at consumers who purchase certain goods to pay.

Regulations knock out production
Dec. 6, 2012

Picture the slow motion shots of Rocky Balboa getting pummeled by Apollo Creed in the first of that eponymous series of boxing movies and you get the sense of what the economy - manufacturing and otherwise - is up against with regard to federal regulations.

Tackle popular immigration reforms now
Nov. 27, 2012

Following the results of the election, there appears to be a real window in Washington, D.C. to do something meaningful on immigration.

The just reelected president has made immigration reform a first tier priority. And many Republicans believe that dealing with this issue is essential to restoring to their party some attractiveness with the two fastest growing groups of immigrants: Asians and Hispanics. Both groups clobbered the GOP in the election, with approximately 66 percent of Hispanics breaking for the president and Asians going into the president’s column at a whopping 73 percent.

Advancing Arizona's Veterans
Nov. 16, 2012

This week, our nation took time to celebrate the enormous contributions and sacrifices of those who have served in our Armed Forces. Just in time for Veterans Day, the Arizona Chamber Foundation released its latest policy brief, Economic Opportunity for Arizona Veterans. This new report highlights the importance of veteran employment and outlines specific policy recommendations for Arizona.

Heroes, Goats and "Pure Idiocy"
Oct. 31, 2012

In case you’ve been living in a cave, next Tuesday is Election Day. Here are a few thoughts about some of the folks that have distinguished themselves as true leaders and others who have made us tune them out this election season.

The Arizona Chamber’s guide to the ballot propositions
Oct. 18, 2012

With less than three weeks remaining before the 2012 General Election, many Arizonans are getting ready to put their early ballots in the mail. Before you fill in those boxes with ink and head to the post office, please take a moment to review the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s recommendations on statewide propositions.

Prosperity Project provides tools to educate businesses and employees about top election issues
Oct. 4, 2012

Last week I talked about jobs – the issue everyone should be talking about, but isn’t.

Jobs and the economy are the number one issues for voters this election season. The majority of voters want to enter the voting booth armed with facts about the candidates on their ballot. They want to know how these candidates plan on getting America back to work. Will the policies they support help lower the country’s too-high unemployment rate?

Let's talk about jobs
Sep. 25, 2012

The main issue that every candidate from president to town council should be talking about this elections season - but isn’t - is jobs.

You blew it, Texas
Sep. 6, 2012

On Wednesday I joined Gov. Jan Brewer, State Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal and education leaders from across the state at an event at Franklin Police and Fire High School to roll out Arizona’s new Common Core Standards. The adoption of these rigorous academic standards is the right move to set Arizona’s students on the path to career-readiness in Arizona’s second century.

The Chamber Recommends...
Aug. 23, 2012

A hotly contested primary election season is almost in the books. Many of you have already voted by mail, but for those of you who will be headed to the polls on Tuesday, here are the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s recommendations.

Arizona leaders ready to seize Mexico trade opportunities
Aug. 15, 2012

With bags packed and passport in hand, I’m en route to Hermosillo, Sonora and later Mexico City as part of an all-star delegation to Mexico led by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild to talk trade and cross-border business.

Time travelers at the EPA: Agency in a rush to damage Arizona's economy
Aug. 2, 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency came to town this week to hold a public hearing on the agency’s proposal to institute a Federal Implementation Plan, or FIP, for three coal-fired electric generating facilities in Arizona. In case you were wondering, a FIP is a government term for telling states and local communities what to do, when collaboration is what’s called for.

The Arizona Chamber looks ahead to the November ballot
Jul. 13, 2012

Election season is in full swing. The candidates’ signs are out on a street corner near you and the primary is next month, so it’s not too soon to take a look ahead to November, when Arizona voters will be making their voice heard on a host of ballot measures.

I-11: Highway to opportunity
Jul. 5, 2012

Amid last week’s news of two significant Supreme Court decisions, Congress ended a three year ordeal and passed a long-awaited extension of highway and transit funding. After nine prior extensions of the 2009 transportation bill, a final, one-week extension was filed to provide sufficient time to obtain President Obama’s signature. The bill, which has been touted as providing “unprecedented reforms,” is valid for only two years as opposed to the optimal five years necessary for effective long term planning. After all the political wrangling, the bill finally awaits the president’s signature.

Signs point to Arizona moving beyond quick fixes
Jun. 21, 2012

Unlike the Mel Gibson movie of the same name, the signs that are cropping up in Arizona are not of an impending alien invasion but of potential long term developments that will help to create a truly sustainable economy.

Too often in life and in politics we seem fixated on the “quick fix” as opposed to solutions that often involve more work, are more painful in the short term, and don’t provide the quick boost that our “do it now” society often demands.

Chamber notebook: Pensions, public vs. private, and punishing pay policy
Jun. 15, 2012

In this week’s edition of the Chamber notebook, I take a look at how public pensions are faring in voters’ minds; job growth in the private sector vs. the public sector; and the state of U.S. teen employment.

Stop the madness
Jun. 8, 2012

In August of last year, following a bitter fight in Washington over whether to lift the federal debt ceiling in order to prevent the United States from defaulting on its debt, Congress passed and the president signed into law the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Regulatory Sal-vation: DiCiccio and Simplot target development delays
May 31, 2012

In his commentary this week, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue reminds readers that unnecessary delays in permitting projects are absolute job killers.

Arizona 2.0
May 15, 2012

The two years of the 50th Arizona Legislature will go down in the history books as the years when the Legislature hit reboot on the Arizona economy and turned what was a basket case into a best case.

Déjà vu all over again: Governor, Legislature score big wins for business in second consecutive year
May 7, 2012

If Yogi Berra were a political analyst, he might describe last Thursday night’s passage of House Bill 2815 as the second straight year that the Legislature passed a once-in-a-generation competitiveness package.

State goes on offense on defense
Apr. 25, 2012

I’ve used this column over the years to stress the importance of the state’s aerospace and defense industry to our economy and to focus on why our military installations are so valuable to our economic health.

Arizona’s push to protect these valuable military installations and their corresponding defense jobs took an important step on Monday with the state House’s passage of S.C.R. 1001 (military preservation; land exchanges).

From the Chamber notebook: taxes, solar and baseball
Apr. 19, 2012

It’s tax time, and time for tax reform…Did you get your taxes in on time on Tuesday? It’s this time of year when the talk around the water cooler turns to how much we owe Uncle Sam.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry has made tax reform a priority agenda item for 2012, but with sine die in sight, we need to keep a pro-growth tax bill moving through the legislative process.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton puts focus on job creation in State of the City address
Apr. 13, 2012

Having called Arizona home since the early 1990s, I’ve always had great respect for Phoenix’s mayors. I can still remember being totally impressed by “Boy Mayor” Paul Johnson and his boundless energy when I was a law student here. His fellow former mayors like the elder statesman John Driggs or the most recent occupier of the office, Phil Gordon, have all had an inspiring vision of Arizona’s largest city that has served well the entire state.

Time to double down on charter schools, increase choice
Apr. 2, 2012

A column on today’s Arizona Republic opinion page makes clear the stark differences in thought over how to improve education in the United States.

One camp believes increased choice is a critical component of any school improvement effort. Another camp, like the one occupied by Arizona School Boards Association executive director Tim Ogle, believes increased choice “fails an unacceptable number of student.”

Let's Target Texas
Mar. 22, 2012

Mike Sunnucks’s piece, “Apple’s Austin move shows Arizona’s obstacles,” should be the starting point on how Arizona needs to approach its future efforts on job creation.

Texas is our target, not California.

Personnel reform is vital to Arizona
Mar. 19, 2012

Imagine if your company wasn't able to reward its best employees with raises, wasn't able to hire new employees when they were needed, and was forced to tolerate poor performers and malcontents because of a bureaucratic maze that made firing almost impossible.

Punitive damage reform sets consistent standards, incentivizes compliance
Mar. 9, 2012

This week I want to share with you the latest goings on in the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s efforts to advance a key civil justice reform.

The state Senate on February 28 passed Senate Bill 1336, the Chamber’s top tort reform priority.

UAS in the AZ!
Mar. 1, 2012

While UAS in the NAS may sound like the latest reality show about self-absorbed twenty-something rap stars, it is anything but. What the acronym stands for is integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the National Airspace System. The Federal Aviation Administration is currently looking to establish six test sites nationwide, and Arizona should absolutely be one of them. These sites will help to figure out the logistics of safely incorporating unmanned and manned flights into the same airspace.

The Race for Arizona's Presidential Preference
Feb. 27, 2012

With last week’s presidential debate in our rearview mirror and the primary just a day away, here are a few thoughts on the day’s political scene.

Arizona Legislature's reputation for tort reform continues to grow
Feb. 14, 2012

Two bills last week took one more step down the path to bolstering our state’s reputation for enjoying a legal environment that is welcoming to business. One bill got the headlines, but they’re both an important component of Arizona’s ongoing civil justice reform efforts.

The Bioscience Roadmap Turns 10
Jan. 31, 2012

At a luncheon earlier today in Phoenix, the 2011 Progress on Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap was unveiled. A joint project between Flinn Foundation and statewide leaders in science, business and policy, the Bioscience Roadmap has sought to advance Arizona as a global leader in the biosciences industry. Over the course of the last 10 years, their investment has seen rapid growth in the research, development and production of bioscience related products and lifesaving technology. 

From the Chamber notebook: Taxes, cars and STEM
Jan. 26, 2012

With the 2012 legislative session well underway, here are a few thoughts from the Chamber notebook (apologies to Bob Robb)…

Governor Brewer keeping her foot on the gas of the jobs machine
Jan. 12, 2012

The second regular session of the 50th Arizona Legislature opened this week and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry was back at the state Capitol representing the interests of the state’s job creators as we seek to make Arizona an even better place to do business.

It's back to work at the Capitol for the state's business community
Jan. 6, 2012

As we heard from Gov. Jan Brewer and the legislative leaders who addressed us today, the 2011 legislative session was notable for the adoption of a landmark economic development package. While other states are still crawling out from the economic downturn, Arizona acted decisively in declaring that our state is a great place to grow a business. From a phased-in nearly 30 percent corporate income tax cut, to business property tax relief to the transformational creation of the Arizona Commerce Authority, the governor and Legislature left no doubt that Arizona’s best days are ahead.