Honorable Senators and Representatives
Arizona State Capitol
1700 W. Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Dear Senators and Representatives:
The East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance (EVCCA) is the largest chamber of commerce organization in Arizona with nearly 6,000 members representing nine chambers in the East Valley including Apache Junction, Carefree Cave Creek, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek, Scottsdale and Tempe. Our budget priorities, however, have no geographic boundaries. Our membership includes large multi-national corporations and local small businesses. The EVCCA is a true representation of the Arizona business community. We believe it is critical that lawmakers not take their eye off the goal of growing jobs in Arizona.
The EVCCA recognizes that resources are finite and the challenging job you have of budgeting for seemingly endless needs. Therefore, we offer the following recommendations to provide guidance as you consider budgetary options:
Due to the recent structural reforms in the Federal Tax Code, Arizona is faced with the possibility of an unexpected revenue windfall. The EVCCA has traditionally supported swift determination of Federal conformity to provide clarity for Arizona businesses during tax season. This year is no different. Lawmakers should decide quickly if the funds should be appropriately used by the State or returned to taxpayers.
Sweeps and Rollovers
Lawmakers are elected to make challenging decisions, including the State budget. Sweeps and rollovers only mask the fundamental spending problems of state government. The EVCCA opposes rollovers and sweeps of dedicated funds as a mechanism for balancing the budget. Additionally, the EVCCA believes the Legislature needs to begin paying down the K-12 rollover.
Education and Workforce Development
Innovation and automation play a notable role in the growing Arizona economy. As growth continues, developing and retooling Arizona workforce becomes increasingly important. The EVCCA supports workforce development funding with an emphasis on CTE and JTED efforts.
One of the fundamental tasks of government is to provide an efficient and effective transportation system. The efficient movement of people to and from the jobsite and on-time delivery of goods is the lifeblood of our economy. From appropriate funding of the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF) to the Local Transportation Assistance Fund (LTAF), the EVCCA supports transportation funding in the 2019 budget.
Structurally Balanced Budget
The EVCCA applauds the legislature and Governor for working to structurally balance the state budget. Like the private sector, one-time money should be used on one-time expenditures and not ongoing programs. Additionally, fiscal planning should begin for payoff of past use of rollovers.
Tourism is one of the top industries in Arizona. Every dollar spent on marketing our great state has a significant return. The Alliance supports additional funding for Arizona’s marketing efforts.
As you address and budget for the short-term fiscal necessities of Arizona, we recommend you plan for the long-term needs of the State, including:
The EVCCA applauds the legislature for its multi-year budgeting and encourages lawmakers to consider the long-term impacts of FY 2019 decisions. The EVCCA suggests the legislature consider appropriate computer upgrades for efficiency and accuracy savings and review the State’s debt-to-savings ratio and adjust accordingly.
Reforms to Arizona initiative process are necessary because of the long-term budget implications. The legislature must have the ability to adjust initiatives for economic dynamics, unintended consequences and technological advancements.
The Alliance supports a comprehensive statewide transportation plan that includes advances in technology and potential new revenue sources. To the extent possible, funding sources should match transportation needs. Proper funding of transportation infrastructure should be a long-term goal.
Education Funding Reform
Arizona is in dire need of an education funding overhaul. Statutes have been pieced together over time creating one of the more needlessly complicated education funding systems in the nation. As lawmakers, a long-term goal should be to reform Arizona’s education funding system.
The East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance greatly appreciates your service to our great State. If you have questions regarding our recommendations or would like to discuss them in more detail, please contact our legislative advocates, Tom Dorn, Eric Emmert, Cole Libera and Carly Daniels, at 602-606-4667.
East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance