Bottom Line

2017


Our tax system stinks. Let's fix it.
October 3, 2017

This just in from the Common Sense Department: The tax reform package proposed by the White House and congressional leaders is the ticket to dramatically enhancing the country’s global competitive standing and will be the catalyst for reaching the administration’s stated goal of at least 3 percent economic growth.

The US hasn’t seen a comprehensive tax reform deal reached since the Reagan administration. In the ensuing 30 years, the tax code has become more complicated, larded with special exemptions and dodges, and much less competitive. While we’ve stood pat, with both parties engaged in political malpractice, other countries have passed us by, making their shores much more welcoming to investment. When was the last time you heard a foreign leader aspire to make their tax system look more like ours?

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Results over rhetoric
Sept. 27, 2017

Most leaders engaged in the work of improving education in Arizona are focused on how we can replicate the success of our highest performing district and charter schools to reach even more students. 

Some outfits, though, like the Grand Canyon Institute (GCI), seem committed to ignoring great outcomes for students and instead engage in one-sided “analysis” and political attacks against one sector of our public schools – charter schools.

These attacks are harmful to Arizona students and their families – especially those whose access to a quality education depends on school choice.

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Tax reform is box office gold
Sept. 13, 2017

The movie industry in 2017 saw its worst box-office performance in over a decade. North American receipts were down over 14 percent since last summer. Films with big budgets fizzled and audiences yawned at sequels. 

One title this summer bucked the downward trend, however. Wonder Woman grossed over $410 million domestically. (And it’s easily the best movie I’ve seen this year.) The film’s executive producer, Steven Mnuchin, apparently knows how to back a winner. He’s also produced such blockbusters as Mad Max: Fury Road, and The LEGO Batman Movie.

President Trump and Congress need a hit right now, too.

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How minimum wage and union laws hurt those they intend to help
Sept. 5, 2017
 
 
In case you missed it, I authored the following column, which appeared in The Arizona Republic on Saturday.
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An opportunity for a win-win-win
August 16, 2017
 
 

The first round of the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement is underway. It’s put up or shut up time for a US administration that says it wants to reach at least a 3 percent economic growth rate.

The path to growth is clear: Ensure open, tariff-free foreign markets for US manufacturers while promoting competition and consumer choice in the domestic market that puts downward pressure on the cost of living.

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Why manufacturers are optimistic
June 23, 2017
 
 

Energy and confidence defined the latest National Association of Manufacturers annual summit held earlier this week in Washington, D.C.

The right mix of policy reforms and executive and legislative branch leadership has put optimism among manufacturers at a 20-year high.

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How we can make air travel more efficient
June 15, 2017
 
 

The first round of the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement is underway. It’s put up or shut up time for a US administration that says it wants to reach at least a 3 percent economic growth rate.

The path to growth is clear: Ensure open, tariff-free foreign markets for US manufacturers while promoting competition and consumer choice in the domestic market that puts downward pressure on the cost of living.

NAFTA renegotiation is an opportunity for Arizona to lead
May 22, 2017
 

Word last week that USTR Robert Lighthizer informed Capitol Hill of the Trump administration’s opening of a 90-day consultation period with Congress that will set the stage for a formal renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement should be viewed as an opportunity, especially for Arizona.

We’ve known since the president was sworn in that NAFTA was going under the microscope. Administration rhetoric has ranged from a desire to completely dismantle the agreement, to preserve it and update it. 

2017 Arizona Chamber legislative victories: Volumes 1 and 2
May 16, 2017
 
 
The first regular session of the 53rd Legislature is in the books. It was a good one. Gov. Doug Ducey and the Legislature, led by Senate President Steve Yarbrough and Speaker of the House JD Mesnard, worked together to advance a number of legislative victories for K-12 and higher education, civil justice reform, initiative reform, and water, as well as a state budget that is pro-education and pro-business.
 
As is always the case, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry was a leader at the Capitol, ensuring that job creators’ voices were heard on the biggest issues of the day.
 
Here’s just a snapshot of all that was accomplished.
In Case You Missed It: Don't dismantle trade with Mexico and Canada. Modernize it
May 2, 2017

In case you missed it...This column by Glenn Hamer and Jaime Molera appeared in last Sunday's Arizona Republic Viewpoints section.

Setting the record straight on Results-Based Funding
April 20, 2017

Negotiations over the next fiscal year state budget are headed into crunch time. Interest groups on all sides – including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry – are making their pitch to lawmakers and the Governor’s Office for their priority item to be included in the final package.  

One of our top priorities is Results-Based Funding for K-12 education. It’s also a priority for Gov. Doug Ducey. The Chamber believes it’s the best opportunity to sustain and grow our best schools and positively impact the lives of more kids.  

The plan is not without its critics, however. Their claims, though, could use a little myth-busting.

Day 2: A to-do list for the Legislature before the end of session: Initiative reform
April 11, 2017

The stakes are high when it comes to Arizona’s ballot initiative process. If an initiative results in an unintended consequence that harms the state, there’s very little our elected Legislature can do to fix it. That’s why we have to be extra careful that the process for a measure to advance to the ballot is defined by rigor and integrity and is followed correctly. We can’t risk a mistake. 

The Legislature passed and Gov. Ducey signed into law HB 2404 earlier this session, which was a priority bill for the Chamber and took a major step toward improving the initiative process.

Thanks to that bill, our initiative process will now place greater emphasis on the quality of petition signatures needed to secure a place on the ballot rather than just the quantity of signatures. The legislation prohibits payment to signature gatherers on a per-signature basis and it extends the timeline to challenge the lawful registration of circulators and validity of petition signatures from five days to 10 business days.

A to-do list for the Legislature before the end of session
April 10, 2017

Committee hearings are over. Budget talks are heating up. Bills are moving through the last stages of the legislative process. 

As the end of the legislative session draws near, it’s worth taking a look at where the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s top priorities for 2017 stand.

Over the next few days, Glenn Hamer will take a look at a to-do list Arizona’s job creators are encouraging the Legislature to accomplish before adjourning for the year.

1+1=2
March 29, 2017

I'm not an economist, nor do I play one on TV. But I want to explain why I believe we should think of trade broadly as an economic winner, whether that means exports leaving the US or imports coming in.  

The debate of late has been framed as a zero-sum game that measures exports minus imports. That misses the bigger picture.  

Think of pants. The cotton – one of Arizona’s five Cs – could be grown in our state and then go to Mexico to be incorporated into blue jeans. I then buy the pants. In the balance of trade, Mexico may be ahead in total value. But so what? Who loses? As long as the jeans fit and I don't cause a major fashion faux pas, we all win.

Make NAFTA Great Again
March 7, 2017

Let’s make the North American Free Trade Agreement great again. NAFTA is already pretty great, but this 23-year-old agreement can be modernized and made even better.

The key will be to find value-adds to areas that will result in benefits to the US, Canada and Mexico.

Understanding that Canada and Mexico seem committed to maintaining the trilateral nature of the agreement, the US – meaning our governments at all levels, and the nation’s business community – must work together to identify those areas that unquestionably benefit our country, but that are also beneficial to Mexico and Canada.

Thirty Days of Trade
March 6, 2017

I wanted to give you a peek into my calendar over the past month to get a sense of the time and effort the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the broader Arizona business community, and leaders from across the state have been devoting to promoting and strengthening Arizona’s international trade profile and the state’s cross-border relationships. There might be mixed signals coming from the Beltway on trade, but here at home, we’re speaking with one voice.

Putting an end to the cash for compliance racket
February 16, 2017

Landmark legislation that has led to legally protected access and accommodations for millions of Americans with disabilities is now being cynically manipulated by rogue attorneys in an attempt to line their own pockets.

 
Signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush and supported by both parties, the Americans with Disabilities Act broke down barriers for individuals with disabilities in a profound way. The accommodations we expect today – wheelchair ramps, bathroom grab bars, electronic door openers, and more – were once rarely seen, preventing too many Americans from participating fully in all aspects of society.
 
The changes brought about by the adoption of the ADA were significant. Under the law, building owners are required to alter their facility to be readily accessible to individuals with disabilities. If building owners don’t comply, the ADA allows for private individuals to sue and seek damages.
 
Why Arizona needs initiative reform
February 9, 2017

Last July, proponents of a higher minimum wage in Arizona submitted over 270,000 petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office in hopes of securing a spot on the November ballot. Tens of thousands of those signatures were apparently fraudulent.

We know this because a superior court judge determined as much when the validity of the signatures was challenged by the Arizona Restaurant Association. We also know this because the campaign behind what came to be Proposition 206 pointed to the invalid signatures as justification for not paying the firm it contracted to collect signatures after that firm sued.

None of that mattered, however. The initiative still got on the ballot due to a technicality and, as has been the case with minimum wage initiatives across the country, passed by a wide margin.

In Case You Missed It: Careful how we renegotiate NAFTA
February 1, 2017

I'm pleased to share this column, which appeared in the The Arizona Republic, that makes the case for a strengthened, modernized North American Free Trade Agreement. I am especially grateful to join Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake in highlighting the importance of trade to Arizona and to the United States' economic competitiveness

Education takes center stage in budget
Jan. 18, 2017

Governor Doug Ducey last week presented an executive budget that is education-focused. It provides more resources and more reform. 

Arizona was one of the states hardest hit during the Great Recession. This had a negative on the state’s funding levels for education. This is not news.  

What has not been widely reported, however, is that even in the face of this adversity our students and teachers began moving in small, but sustained, increments towards excellence each and every year.

Big league agenda 2017!
Jan. 12, 2017

Governor Doug Ducey has delivered his State of the State address. Legislators have taken their oaths of office. The presidential inauguration is right around the corner.

This is the prime season for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

To guide our advocacy on behalf of the state’s job creators, we consult our Business Agenda. Each year the Chamber’s policy committees work diligently to put forth policy recommendations on a wide range of issues, from education, to health care, to taxation, to transportation and everything in between, all designed to make Arizona more competitive.

Our agenda is an ambitious one. Whether in Phoenix at the state Capitol or in Washington, D.C. in the halls of Congress, we’ll be on offense working hard to grow Arizona’s economy.