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The 2013 Hammer Awards
Dec. 20, 2013

It’s the most wonderful time of the year; time to hand out some virtual hardware to the winners of the 4th annual Hammer Awards, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer’s look back at the wild and the wacky of the year in politics and anything else that’s on his mind.

Don't Burn Wood on No Burn Days
Dec. 12, 2013

Sitting around the fire and visiting with family and friends adds a little something special to Holiday festivities, and it is just about the only time that we in the Valley get to put our fireplaces and outdoor chimineas to use. However, as we learned today at the “Don’t Burn Wood on a No Burn Day” press conference jointly hosted by the Maricopa County Air Quality Department and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, this festive luxury also adds a lot of a little something called PM-2.5 to our air, which is jeopardizing Maricopa County’s air quality attainment status.

Minimum wage, maximum pain: Wage laws hurt young and poor
Nov. 26, 2013

President Obama this year has been making noise about wanting to hike the federal minimum wage to $9 per hour and then indexing the wage to inflation. That means the hourly wage would go up every time the cost of living goes up.

Gap is Narrowing on Immigration Reform
Nov. 1, 2013

Various Arizona Chamber and business leaders have made numerous visits to Washington, D.C. over the years to push for reform of our nation's badly broken immigration system. As a border state, we understand this issue well.

Time to end partial shutdown and negotiate
Oct. 11, 2013

Here is my formula for ending the budget impasse: Republicans should relent on adding strings to the funding bill to keep open all of the federal government operations and should pass a "clean" continuing resolution (CR). For his part, the president should negotiate on legislation to raise the debt ceiling.

A Grand Canyon-sized impasse
Oct. 4, 2013

Lost in the battle in Washington over whether and how to fund the Affordable Care Act and over whether and how to raise the debt ceiling, is the very real pain the government shutdown is inflicting on Arizona business. This pain is especially acute in Arizona’s tourism sector, where the closure of the state’s 22 national parks, including the Grand Canyon, is harming small businesses and rural communities whose financial stability is directly tied to visitor traffic.

High tariffs put manufacturing in the rough
Sep. 23, 2013

Arizona has a rich golf history. We have hundreds of outstanding courses throughout the state, ranging from affordable municipal courses to Golf Digest five-star offerings. We’re host to top-flight tournaments like the Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain and the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the PGA tour’s best attended event. Our state universities’ golf programs have produced superstars like Phil Mickelson and Annika Sorrenstam. It is estimated that the golf industry contributes nearly $3.5 billion to Arizona’s economy annually.

Sep. 6, 2013

In the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, the author examines how a person’s drive, motivation, and success can be influenced by extraneous factors such as birth month. (For example, hockey players in Canada born in January have a head start developing their skills over kids born later in the year based on how the leagues are structured on birth dates; the poor December kids have a measurably lower chance of success.)

A glass half-full
Aug. 30, 2013

I attended an immigration town hall in Mesa on Tuesday with Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake hosted by The Arizona Republic and 12 News. Kudos to The Republic for hosting this educational event, which will air on Sunday after Meet the Press. Both senators thoughtfully made the case that immigration reform is a must and should be considered by the House of Representatives when Congress returns after Labor Day. That two Arizona senators are leading the call for reform speaks to the leadership of this state. Sen. Flake deserves special credit for having the guts to work on this issue even in his freshman year as a U.S. senator.

Arizona's rocky relationship with the EPA
Aug. 9, 2013

I’d imagine that the speechwriter preparing President Obama for his visit to Phoenix this week was hard pressed to come up with many highlights in the White House-Arizona relationship. We’ve had a rocky marriage over the past five years.

Time to vote yes on immigration bill
June 24, 2013

If you were worried that the Gang of Eight’s immigration overhaul efforts didn’t sufficiently address border security, then then amendment filed by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John Hoeven (R-ND) should put any fears to rest.

Prop. 100 in the dustbin of history
May 31, 2013

May 31, 2013 marks the end of the temporary one cent sales tax that voters approved in May 2010 when they overwhelming passed Proposition 100.

The Super Bowl of Science
May 16, 2013

Arizona added a major feather to its cap when it was recently named to the rotation of hosts for the reconfigured national college football championship. And the state takes its turn in the Super Bowl again when the big game comes to town for the third time in 2015.

Moving on up
May 9, 2013

The good news this week that Go Daddy is expanding its operations here and that Chief Executive Magazine now ranks Arizona as the sixth-best state to do business (up from 10th place last year) is no accident.

Visa reform needed to move country FWD
Apr. 30, 2013

And so it begins. After six years since the last substantive debates over immigration reform, the Senate Judiciary Committee last week began hearings on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, the title of the legislation borne out of the months-long work of the bipartisan Gang of Eight, which includes Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake.

The Insistent Reformer Strikes Again
Apr. 5, 2013

The late conservative columnist, Robert Novak, once referred to Arizona's new U.S. senator, as an "insistent reformer." During his 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Flake helped bring about what many insiders considered impossible: essentially eliminating earmarks from appropriation bills. During his House tenure he also worked on a failed effort to reform the nation’s immigration system and some important and yet-to-be enacted reforms to our environmental laws to reflect regional realities.

Shine coming off the Golden State
Mar. 27, 2013

The Tax Foundation in its 2013 State Business Tax Climate Index tells us something most of already know: California has high taxes. Really high.

In its state-by-state rankings, California checks in at 48, duking it out with New Jersey and New York at the bottom of the barrel. Breaking out the ranking in its component parts, California comes in at 45 for corporate taxes and 49 for individual tax rate.

Grand Canyon-sized tax reform
Mar. 15, 2013

The recent Grand Canyon Institute report “The Effects of Tax Reductions In Arizona: Significantly Reduced Government Revenue and No Apparent Impact on Economic Growth,” dismisses the bipartisan efforts to improve Arizona's tax competitiveness over the past two decades and defies common sense.

Time to put AIMS in the drawer with my parachute pants
Mar. 8, 2013

Arizona's current high-stakes educational test, the AIMS test, measures if a student has mastered 10th grade material.

Arizona Chamber Foundation issues new reports on Medicaid expansion
Feb. 20, 2013

The issue of Medicaid expansion continues to loom large in state policymaking circles, and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s research arm, the Arizona Chamber Foundation, has produced new reports on this important topic.

Help inspire the next generation of manufacturers
Feb. 7, 2013

Who amongst us has not wondered in awe at the explosive power of Menthos and Coke, or for the more aged challenged amongst us, that old standby of baking soda and vinegar?

I love it when a plan comes together
Feb. 1, 2013

This is a heady time for supporters of real immigration reform. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including our own John McCain and Jeff Flake, have announced their support for a framework of sweeping changes that have long been supported by Arizona’s - and the nation’s - business community.

An open letter to Phil Mickelson
Jan. 24, 2013

I read your recent comments about the crushing tax burden California has imposed on wage earners like yourself. You said that you might even move out of California. Allow me to suggest Arizona – your former home – as your next home.

The Common Core Advantage
Jan. 17, 2013

Common Core is a term you’ll be seeing often this legislative session. The governor on Monday made clear her support for these rigorous academic standards during her State of the State Address and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry has made the implementation of the Common Core a top priority for 2013.

Gov. Brewer, legislators ready to lead in 2013
Jan. 11, 2013

Just as we always do this time of year, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry today kicked off the next legislative session with our annual Legislative Forecast Luncheon. This year’s edition was held at a packed Phoenix Convention Center, where the 1,000-person crowd had the opportunity to hear from Gov. Jan Brewer and state House and Senate legislative leaders about their vision for the 2013 session.