Before ringing in 2022, back on the biggest stories of 2021
The year 2021 is in its final hours. Before we announce a healthier and more prosperous year 2022, here are my top 10 business and policy stories of the year:
1. Single tax reform
Considering the potential imposition of one of the highest personal tax rates in the country, the state legislature and Governor Doug Ducey have ensured that Arizona’s tax environment remains the one that attracts job creators and creates economic opportunities. Together, they adopted a $ 1.3 billion tax cut plan that offered a flat tax rate of 2.5%. But they didn’t stop there. They also reduced the commercial property tax assessment ratio from 18% to 16% over four years, and they adopted another small business tax filing option. Combine these reforms with the state’s Supreme Court ruling in August that Proposition 208 – the measure to raise Arizona’s top tax rate by nearly 78 percent – was unconstitutional, and 2021 has been a very good year for taxpayers.
2. Resumption of record jobs
Proving that public policy matters, few states have recovered from the pandemic-induced slowdown like Arizona. We learned in August from the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity that Arizona had recovered 100% of the private sector jobs it had lost since April 2020, the third fastest recovery in the country. By November, the state had recovered more than 100% of all jobs lost and experienced one of the highest unemployment rates in the country on a month-to-month basis drops, resulting in an unemployment rate of 4.7%, the lowest in more than a decade.
3. Arizona is one of the best in the country for immigration
Americans vote with their feet. The freest people in the world can rent a U-Haul and choose anywhere in the country to call home. In 2021, Americans chose Arizona, making the state one of the top four population gainers and one of the top 3 in terms of total net migration gains. When the House and our business colleagues evangelize the power of free market politics, that is what we are talking about.
4. Intel’s record investment
Intel in March announced plans to build two new factories at its Chandler Ocotillo plant, representing a $ 20 billion investment, the largest in state history, which will translate into 15,000 local jobs long. term. Not only is the investment huge, it solidifies Arizona’s place as the hub for the jobs that will define the next decade and beyond. Forbes rightly called Arizona “Semiconductor plant. ”
5. New generation manufacturing
This investment from Intel is just one example of how Arizona’s reputation for next-gen manufacturing grew in 2021. The stories were frequent and abundant. ElectraMeccanica announcement that its 235,000 square foot manufacturing plant will be in operation by next summer and that its Solo electric vehicle is in the process of being validated test. KORE power announcement that he brings a one-of-a-kind lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant to Buckeye. Lucid engines famous the official start of production of their vehicles at the company’s Casa Grande plant and the Lucid Air model won Motor Trend Car of the Year Award. Nicolas book its first Tre battery electric vehicle pilot truck fresh from its Coolidge plant. These are the types of headlines that make other states envy, and these are the jobs that will propel the economy forward for years to come.
6. Liability guarantees
The legislature and Governor Ducey adopted and signed the law SB 1377, legislation that establishes common sense liability protections for healthcare providers, businesses, schools and universities, nonprofits, and government entities that take responsible action to prevent the spread of the virus . The bill was good news for companies returning to a semblance of normalcy without having to worry about the threat of abusive litigation.
7. Deployment of nationally recognized vaccines, new therapeutic innovations
It has been a year of vaccines and therapeutic innovations as Arizona has done its part to beat the pandemic. The White House recognized Arizona’s fantastic mass vaccination site at State Farm Stadium, along with Ducey’s administration and county health departments deployed additional sites statewide, ensuring that any Arizona that wanted the life-saving vaccine could get it. Arizona Chamber members were often behind the scenes, mobilizing their workforce to volunteer at the venues and have them hum with remarkable efficiency. And thank you to the pharmaceutical innovators of our country, who not only developed the vaccines in record time, but also established breakthrough antiviral pills that will keep Covid positive cases out of hospital. These companies and our nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals will make 2022 a brighter year. They deserve our sincere thanks.
8. Regulatory modernization
More paperwork has been removed in 2021 to respond to the time we live in. Ensure that we can get take away cocktails with our takeout may not seem like a great political innovation, but the bipartisan effort has demonstrated the willingness of Arizona policymakers to ensure that our regulatory environment makes sense in the face of changing times. The Legislative Assembly and the Governor also deleted dissuading companies from appealing negative decisions of state agencies by making the recovery status of attorney fees for non-tax administrative actions consistent with regular tax appeals, and they increased the cap overall costs reimbursed. Granted, it’s the kind of weeded regulatory reform that may not have made the headlines, but it makes Arizona a better state to do business.
9. Build Back Better bites the dust
The massive domestic spending bill that President Joe Biden made a centerpiece of his 2021 domestic agenda failed before the end of the year, which was good news for job creators and all. those who worried about inflation rates at Jimmy-Carter’s level. But it wasn’t just the price of tax hikes and transfer payments – it was rotten policy, with measures ranging from environmental regulations to freebies to big Labor and litigators, to interference in the government. drug prices, all of which resulted in a bill so big and so bad it deserved to crumble under its own weight. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin received a lot of ink for his refusal to follow the artificial White House and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s timetable for passing the bill, but the Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema deserves credit for his work to make a bad bill a little better. We need her and Senator Mark Kelly to continue the fight in 2022 if there is an attempt to resuscitate this legislation.
10. PRO Act collapses
Arizona’s Sinema and Kelly stepped up their refusal to sign as co-sponsors of the Right to Organize Act, or PRO, in 2021. The bill contained a litany of items on the list. union wishes, all of which are said to have driven a wedge between job creators and employees and sparked litigation and headaches. After a party line vote in the House, things looked grim, but Sens. Sinema and Kelly fell apart, depriving Senator Schumer of the 50 co-sponsors he says he needs to put the bill to a vote. . If the Filibuster stays put, Bill faces a tough road, but that’s a big ‘if’, and Schumer would love nothing more than an excuse to dump the Filibuster and get through the PRO. Act as a stand-alone bill or paste it into Build Better back. No matter what the strategy, our senators have the power to stop it.
This is just a glimpse of the business and political victories that defined a year with the potential for dozens more, on topics ranging from infrastructure and the job market to cryptocurrency and NFTs. (to name a few). In the Arizona House, we look forward to 2022, which we are confident will be another year of job creators, lawmakers from both sides and the governor working together for a more vibrant and resilient Arizona on economically. Good year.
Danny Seiden is President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry