“Hyper-partisanship hinders everyone’s effort in some form or another at the legislature,” said Huckins. “Some of the best policies are developed when you have coalition-building efforts where people reach across the party line to enact good public policy. But when legislators vote strictly along party lines, that partisanship can certainly hinder the debate at times and prevent good public policy from being implemented.”
Evidence of a successful relationship, lobbyists and business-related organizations say, is legislation that fosters economic development, including a hefty corporate income tax reduction, passage of a $3.5-billion funding mechanism for public schools, and the easing of regulations. They say the Legislature has been very receptive to the concerns and ideas raised by the business community, and deserves credit for ensuring that businesses have the ability to plan and invest with some measure of predictability.
Huckins of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce expresses strong support for Prop. 123 and says his organization is focusing on some workforce issues. Sending an early message to lawmakers in both parties, Huckins says, “We’re also very supportive of getting joint technical education district (JTED) and career and technical education (CTE) funding restored. In addition, we’d also like to see increased funding allocated to Arizona’s public universities and community college system, as they play equally important roles in developing a strong workforce in the state.”
Mentioning last year’s successes, Huckins notes that, of the 44 bills the chamber supported, 30 became law. “That’s how we gauge how effectively we’re ensuring that our elected officials at the local, state and federal level hear the voice of businesses on important issues.”
The view that government often moves too slowly might be in for a change. It is considered a positive sign that the Legislature has followed Governor Ducey’s lead in “building an administration that moves at the speed of business,” Huckins says.
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