Monthly Archives: June 2015

June Public Affairs Recap

On June 5th the Public Affairs Committee met for the last time of the 2014-15 year and after six years Susan Anable retired her role as the Public Affairs Committee Chair.  She showed exceptional leadership during her tenure, and made the hard decisions which kept the Committee true to the Chamber’s mission and purpose of promoting a thriving business community in Arizona.

Although there was time for cake, the committee still had one final vote to make before wrapping for the summer- Proposition 103 (Charter Amendment for Pension).  Deputy City Manager Rick Naimark gave the presentation on Prop 103 which you can find here.  It will create a new pension system tier for incoming civilian city employees with three tiers and is being called a ‘Stacked Hybrid Plan’.  Tiers are differentiated based on hire date and salary, which dictates the contribution rate.  Employees will have a maximum salary level for the traditional pension system of $125,000 and any earnings over that will be placed into a 401k style defined contribution system.  The Committee voted unanimously to support Prop 103 which went on to the Chamber’s Board of Directors for final approval.

On June 18th the GPCC Board of Directors met and voted to accept the Public Affairs Committee recommendations to support two City of Phoenix ballot propositions, Prop 103 and Prop 104.  As a recap, Prop 104, the Comprehensive Phoenix Transportation Plan, will fund a comprehensive transportation plan for Phoenix that will maintain and expand the light rail and bus systems, improve city streets and roadways and provide Phoenix residents with more transportation options. You can find more information on Prop 104 here.

Keep an eye out, we will be sending out the meeting dates for the upcoming  year shortly!

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2015 City of Phoenix Elections

This summer the City of Phoenix is holding elections for Mayor and City Council Districts 1, 3, 5, and 7, which is shaping up to be the least competitive race in over a decade with only two of the five incumbents facing challengers.  A sharp contrast to just two years ago when there were 16 candidates running in the City Council election of 2013.

A major issue the City of Phoenix faces is voter turnout, with just 23.4 percent of registered voters casting ballots in the 2013 election, this year is expected to see much lower turnout due to the smaller pool of candidates. Early voting continues to be the most popular way Phoenix Residents cast their ballots. Learn more or Sign up for the Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL) here.  Below you will find important information so that you make it to the polls come Election Day:

  • July 27, 2015: Deadline to Register to Vote in the Phoenix General Election
  • August 25, 2015: Elections for Mayor and Council Members in Districts 1, 3, 5, and 7

Candidates for Mayor

  • Anna Maria Brennan
  • Matthew Jette
  • Greg Stanton (Incumbent)

Candidates for District 1

  • Thelda Williams (Incumbent)

Candidates for District 3

  • Bill Gates (Incumbent)

Candidates for District 5

  • Felix Garcia
  • Daniel Valenzuela (Incumbent)

Candidates for District 7

  • Michael Nowakowski (Incumbent)

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Could more K-12 dollars be on the way?

On the heels of a US Census report showing Arizona seriously lacking in K-12 funding, Governor Doug Ducey announced plans to give the system a muchneeded shot in the arm. The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, along with other business and education leaders, attended the governor’s press conference announcing a proposal to pump $1.8 billion into K-12 schools over five years beginning in FY 2017 pending legislative and voter approval, all without raising taxes.

The federal government gave Arizona lands as an endowment at the time of statehood in 1912.  Arizona sells those lands and the revenues are deposited into the  Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund. Those monies are held in trust and are invested by the state treasurer for the benefit of various beneficiaries as outlined in the Arizona Constitution. K-12 schools receive the largest share of the funds at 93 percent.

By increasing the distribution percentage from the Fund from the current 2.5 percent to 10 percent over five years, the proposal takes advantage of the outstanding growth the Fund has experienced over the last several years. Following the initial five year increase, the proposal drops the distribution from 10 percent down to five percent for the next five years before returning to the current distribution rate after ten years. Even after the increased distribution amounts, the Governor anticipates the Fund having a higher balance than today, thereby protecting the Fund for future years of beneficiary payments.

While this is certainly not a cure all for the problems facing our K-12 system, it would provide muchneeded financial relief for our schools and give the state time to come up with a longterm funding and school finance reform plan. The GPCC is excited to work with the Governor, the Legislature and other stakeholders in the coming months to make sure this plan is successful.  A strong public education system helps build our economy  as a sustainable economy needs a talented workforce pipeline.

For full details on the proposal, please click here.

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