At the April 18 Economic Development Insider Series, Jim Rounds, President of Rounds Consulting Group, shared updates on the economic impact of legislative issues that are affecting businesses this year. Rounds also discussed how strategic growth focused on high wage jobs is paving the way for the region’s economic future.
The Economic Development Insider Series is a bimonthly, hour-long program that features insider information about the hottest economic and workforce development trends in Greater Phoenix.
During the program, Rounds discussed the state of the economy, the impact of public policy, and how businesses can take advantage of a strong economy.
The Greater Phoenix Chamber’s Vice President of Public Affairs, Mike Huckins, joined Rounds on stage. Huckins shared insights from the current legislative session. From the passage of the vitally important Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) to advocating for workforce development funding, Huckins provided updates on the legislation affecting Valley businesses. Among the most recent successes was the passage of the H.B. 2569, which made Arizona the first state in the nation to recognize occupational licenses from other states.
According to both Rounds and Huckins, one of the biggest issues at the legislature is how much money should be set aside toward the state’s rainy day fund.
Other funding items being discussed include important business community priorities such as funding for the community colleges, funding for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, funding to support Arizona’s nursing education programs, and funds to support workforce development efforts.
“I’m a strong believer in public policy having an impact,” said Rounds.
As a local economic and policy expert, Rounds serves as an analyst for several local governments across Arizona and has a strong understanding of the interplay of economics, government spending, and public policy.
“If there’s a proposal—like additional economic development money—we need to take care to show how it will positively impact the state,” said Rounds. “We need to start doing this with public policy.”
Rounds discussed a few other public policy issues that are hovering on the horizon for this legislative session and next year’s session. These issues include income tax conformity, increasing housing costs, education funding, taxation of digital goods, talent pipelines, and ballot initiatives such as sports betting and recreational marijuana.
With all of these potential upcoming issues, Rounds urges lawmakers and the public to focus on how to maximize the use of the budget and the state’s investments to support the business community and the economy’s overall health.