Originally Published: January 26, 2014 6 a.m.
Thirty-eight chambers of commerce around the state have joined forces to work on business-related legislation at the State Capitol during this legislative session. The Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley Chambers are part of this statewide coalition. Each year, the chambers develop a "Legislative Agenda for Arizona Business," and distribute the agenda to every legislator as the session gets under way. As bills are introduced, lobbyists from the Arizona Chamber, Phoenix Chamber and others review each bill to see if they are of interest to the business community. If they fall under one of our agenda items, they are placed on a list of bills to watch as the legislative session progresses.
All chambers of commerce that signed on to support the "Legislative Agenda" then have the opportunity each Friday afternoon to take part in a conference call, where updates on all priority bills are discussed and reviewed. If specific bills need attention, coalition letters are sometimes put together and shared with the Legislature.
The "Legislative Agenda" is grouped into main topics such as "Maintain a Structurally Balanced Budget," "Create a Competitive and Sustainable Economic Development Environment," Encourage Regulatory Accountability," "Maintain a Flexible, Readily Available & Competitive Workforce," "Ensure Ample and Affordable Energy Supplies and Natural Resources," "Improve Access to and Affordability of Healthcare Statewide," "Secure Adequate Funding for Statewide Transportation Needs," and "Initiative Reform."
The agenda summarizes three business priorities prior to listing the main topics or groups. First is the need for fair tax, fee and fiscal policies that will attract new investments and bring jobs to Arizona that are all treated with careful consideration as to the economic impact of each action. The second priority is a prepared workforce developed through sound employment practices and an education system that produces college or career-ready graduates that can compete globally. The third and final priority is a regulatory environment that provides timeliness and certainty for businesses while allowing them to flourish without unduly burdensome regulations on business owners.
Each year, this united group of statewide chambers plays an active role in representing the voice of business with the Legislature and the governor.