Republican Arizona Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Yee is utilizing the vast experience of her caucus colleagues to push forward a list of priorities this year designed to encourage economic development and job growth, pass a structurally balanced budget and support strongly Arizona families, teachers and schools.
Yee outlined the Senate Republicans’ 2017 Majority Plan during a Jan. 27 presentation to the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Public Affairs Committee. She outlined her process, which began shortly after the November election, of meeting with each Arizona Senate Republican to discuss their priority issues and bills they may be running. One theme that emerged right away was a focus on economic growth and businesses success.
“A lot of them have so much experience in their areas, so we relied heavily on them,” she said. “Everyone had economic development and job growth in their priorities, so we put that on top of our list of our majority plan.”
Yee emphasized the GOP focus on pro-growth strategies, but didn’t forget that lawmakers must also play defense on behalf of the business community against policies that discourage companies from expanding, hiring and relocating to the Greater Phoenix region.
“We want to ensure growth and to maintain a business friendly environment,” she said. “We also intend to fend off bills that stifle growth.”
The full Senate Republican 2017 Majority Plan also includes plans bolster investment in transportation, infrastructure and technology, keep control of Arizona’s natural resources out of the hands of the federal government, ensure law enforcement agencies are equipped to protect Arizonans and maintain access to quality health care.
See the full plan below.
1. Economic Development & Job Growth
The Republican majority is committed to creating the best-possible environment for new and existing businesses, small and large. As other states increase taxes and regulations on job-creators, Arizona is opening its doors for the business community. Republicans will look for opportunities to reduce regulations and review the scope of state and local licensing.
• Grow the state’s economic development portfolio to attract new industry and promote growth in the state’s economy.
• Identify ways to ease the regulatory burdens on business and grow or improve the small business infrastructure in Arizona.
• Support innovation and technology that revolutionize the delivery of service and products for our customers.
• Reduce regulations at state and local levels.
• Protect private property rights.
• Protect businesses from Americans with Disabilities lawsuit abuse through tort reform.
2. Structurally Balanced Budget
After a decade of imbalanced budgets and growing deficits, Republicans have created a budget that is structurally balanced, and we must resist efforts by the spending lobby to reverse this balance. We will provide more resources in areas vital to Arizona’s growth, but we will not appropriate funds we don’t have.
• Continue to utilize three-year budget planning.
• Follow Finance Advisory Committee projections.
• Protect against raids on the Rainy Day Fund.
• Continue to focus and invest resources on K-12 Education.
3. A Strong Education System
In the past decade, Republicans have created one of the broadest education choice environments in the nation. Passage of Proposition 123 means $3.5 billion in new funding to K-12 over the next ten years. Arizona is poised to be a leader in quality education and our Caucus will support greater choice and accountability.
• Stay committed to a strong, high-quality K-12 public education system by supporting and enhancing academic achievement through school choice and accountability.
• Recognize high performing schools and provide more opportunities for student achievement for all students regardless of where they live.
• Support a rigorous K-12 system to ensure that all students graduate and are ready for both college and the workforce, with a special focus on and additional spending for at-risk children.
• Keep higher education affordable and accessible to all families.
4. Transportation, Infrastructure & Technology
For our state’s economy to run at full capacity, we must have a transportation system that is up-to-date, accessible and reliable. We will embrace new technologies that improve transportation for citizens and industry.
• Recognize that a well-designed, well-maintained network of roads and freeways creates an atmosphere for economic success.
• Foster robust policies to ensure that innovation and technology play a major role in moving people and goods from place to place, and where possible, resist regulating when it might stifle innovation.
• Encourage IT investments in critical state agencies that use up-to-date software as a service.
5. Energy, Water & Agriculture
Arizona’s natural resources must be preserved for future generations, but we must also find the proper balance between environmental stewardship and economic opportunities. We will continue to push back any efforts by the federal government to mismanage our public lands.
• Work with the congressional delegation and the Administration to reverse harmful federal regulations.
• Cooperate with other states and work with our congressional delegation to protect and increase our water supply.
• Encourage production of affordable energy that is cost-effective for ratepayers
• Protect individual and state water rights.
6. Public Safety & Border Security
Our highest commitment to Arizonans is their safety and well-being. The Republican majority will do all we can to keep our citizens safe in their homes, particularly those in border communities.
• Ensure law enforcement has the tools to protect our communities.
• Provide comprehensive and targeted policies that combat border-related criminal activity such as drug and human trafficking.
7. Quality Health Care
Arizonans must have greater access to high-quality medical care with affordability. Republicans will fight for more flexibility in the way health care is delivered to patients, while promoting accountability and transparency.
• Establish sound accountability measures for providers to ensure that health care and behavioral health needs are met.
• Support initiatives to combat the substance abuse epidemic that has profoundly impacted the state’s child welfare and criminal justice systems, and protect Arizona’s families.
• Continue efforts to provide flexibility for the state’s health care dollars.
8. Protecting the Vulnerable
The Legislature will protect Arizona’s vulnerable developmentally disabled, elderly and at-risk populations.
• Continue monitoring the progress of the Department of Child Safety’s backlog of cases and its success in meeting legislative benchmarks.
• Continue to improve accountability and streamline systems for better efficiency and outcomes.
• Measure outcome goals for continual improvement and positive, long-term success for children in state and foster care.
Voting is the foundation of our Republic and Arizonans must know our elections are secure and without fraud. In addition, the voting process should be run as efficiently as possible.
• Provide voters with a streamlined and efficient voting experience.
• Ensure legal votes are counted in an expeditious and timely manner.
• Continue to modify campaign finance laws so that free speech rights are preserved as well as enhanced.
– Written by Josh Coddington, marketing and communications manager, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.