The Greater Phoenix Chamber’s Board of Directors, in consultation with the Public Affairs Committee, announced pro-business positions on two ballot propositions that will be on the 2018 ballot in November.
The Chamber takes positions on ballot propositions in a methodical process. The Public Affairs Committee reviews the issue and members vote on the proposition to either support or oppose. After the vote at the Public Affairs Committee, the position is recommended to the Chamber’s Board of Directors for a vote and final approval.
Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona Initiative – Oppose
The Greater Phoenix Chamber stands with Arizona’s business leaders and hardworking families in firm opposition to the “Clean Energy” ballot proposal.
This initiative, filed by an out-of-state group funded primarily by California billionaire Tom Steyer, would amend Arizona’s State Constitution to require that public utility companies obtain half of their energy from renewable sources in less than twelve years’ time. If approved, these mandates will cost Arizona thousands of jobs, double energy costs for the average family and weaken Arizona’s economic competitiveness.
The Greater Phoenix region has one of the largest sources of clean energy in the country. Putting that needed and reliable energy supply at risk is not in the best interest of the state. Further, the Arizona Constitution is not the place to mandate regulatory energy policies that cannot be modified without going back to the voters for the simplest of changes. If Arizona approves these costly regulations, everyday citizens will be stuck paying the price for generations to come.
Invest in Education – Oppose
The Greater Phoenix Chamber opposes the “Invest in Education Act.”
The proposed initiative would amend Arizona statute to significantly raise the income tax rate on incomes over $250,000 (individuals) and $500,000 (households). The additional revenues would be allocated to the Classroom Site Fund for teacher salaries and school operations.
The Invest in Education Act would nearly double Arizona’s income tax rate. This would move Arizona from one of the lowest income tax rates in the country to ranking fifth highest in the nation.
Most concerning to the business community is that this “soak the rich” proposal will result in significant tax hikes for small businesses that pay their taxes through the individual income tax schedule.
To date, there is still a lack of details on several items including:
- The negative repercussions on small business owners.
- The revenue projections and volatility of the tax brackets selected for the increase.
- The rationale for doubling the income tax rates for high salary earners.
- The lack of information regarding how the new revenue streams would interact with the increased funding provided to schools in the latest legislative session.
- The exclusion of higher education.
- How the additional revenue is expected to support higher academic achievement.
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