Monthly Archives: April 2015

2015 Legislative Session Wrap Up

The First Regular Session of Arizona’s 52nd Legislature adjourned in the early morning hours of April 2, 2015, and the state’s business community claimed several victories on critical issues. The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (GPCC), whose Public Affairs team worked closely with lawmakers throughout the 81-day session, offers its key successes on behalf of Arizona business:

– Supported continued industry growth through tax reform & supported efforts to further streamline the sales tax system. HB 2568 was a key success that reduces the insurance premium tax over the next several years. The Chamber also stopped attempts to place personal taxpayer information up for public scrutiny.

– Defeated measures that place burdensome requirements on private health insurance contracts. A core principle of the Chamber is supporting polices that advocate for a free-market based health care system that offers affordable, cost-effective and quality health care options to businesses and individuals.

– Continued streamlining Arizona’s Workers’ Compensation system through common sense reforms that reduce ambiguity and administrative burdens on business and employees.  Bills like HB2331 and HB2346 help reduce the number of claimants making false claims for compensation, and stipulate that businesses are not required to reimburse a person for costs associated with medical use of marijuana.

– Championed SB 1007 and HB 2661 that strengthened Arizona’s efforts to maintain state primacy under the EPA’s carbon emission reduction requirements under the Clean Air Act and help assure an adequate water supply for future economic development.

– Defeated attempts to undermine accountability in the K-12 system by maintaining Arizona’s College & Career Readiness Standards.  Arizona has consistently had one of the lowest-ranked education systems in the country.  It’s time to make education a priority in Arizona. GPCC supports higher education standards and welcomes improvements to the ACCRS.  It is imperative that we raise the expectations of our state’s education system so our students can be more internationally competitive and be a key part of a skilled workforce.

– Supported efforts to reduce the shortages of physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals across the state.  Now, fully licensed primary care providers can apply for the State Loan Repayment Program which provides loan repayment assistance to qualifying student loans in exchange for service in designated areas.  This expands eligibility of health care professionals to include behavioral health practitioners, geriatrics, and pharmacists as Arizona has identified the need for approximately 442 full-time primary care physicians, 441 dentists, and 204 full-time psychiatrists.

GPCC hosted its 21st annual Legislative Wrap-Up Breakfast this past Tuesday morning, April 21, at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix.  A panel discussion lead by Senate President Andy Biggs, House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro, Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs, and House Minority Leader Eric Meyer recapped the session.  You can check out pictures of the event here: http://www.phoenixchamber.com/gallery/photos-legislative-wrap-4212015

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Taxation Fairness

Early last week Governor Doug Ducey signed HB2568 (Insurance Premium Tax Reduction) into law, which aims to reduce the inequality between the insurance premium tax and the corporate income tax.  The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, along with many other chambers, supported this bill and believes fair and equitable practices and applications of tax policy are paramount in increasing Arizona’s competitiveness and incentivizing business retention.

The current insurance premium tax rate of 2 percent is approximately equivalent to a 25 percent corporate tax rate.  Reducing the premium tax to 1.7 percent over the next several years will begin to mend what is a substantial inequality for this industry in Arizona.  Additionally, reducing the insurance premium rate will boost our state’s economy, allow insurance companies to create more jobs in the region, and reduce the inequality between the insurance premium tax and the corporate income tax.

We are focused on the health of our existing businesses in the region and are actively working to retain and expand them.  Specifically, the insurance industry contributes greatly to Arizona communities through job creation, services, and investments. Property and casualty insurance companies have invested nearly $9 billion in Arizona municipal bonds.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 27,000 insurance professionals across Arizona and they are integral, involved, and valued community members.  With HB2568 being signed into law, Arizona is on the right path toward growing the insurance industry even more.

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