First Quarter Economic and Policy Thoughts - Two Steps Forward for AZ

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April 11, 2017
All About Arizona News
Jim Rounds

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I was asked during an interview what I thought about the performance of our state policymakers and the legislative session this year. It wasn’t the focal point of the discussion but I thought it made for good commentary. Below are my primary observations:

  • AZ advanced more than any other state this decade in its ability to aggressively market local economic attributes. State promotion is highly cost effective. It is running on all cylinders.
  • Recent messaging was surprisingly well received by both Democrats and Republicans on how a number of things matter in developing our economy (i.e. tax policy, economic development, regulation, education, workforce, transportation, etc.). Everybody appears to understand the basic concept of ROI and finding a competitive balance. This will allow for better policy discussions down the road.
  • Groups can come together and negotiate, as evidenced by the work on GPLET reform. Some fine tuning of how deals are put together will still be required this summer and fall, but I am optimistic the effort will be successful.
  • People seem to have a better understanding of how international trade impacts the economy, but the discussion needs further refinement.
  • We have very knowledgeable organizations in the state working as supporters of economic growth. This is very different than just a handful of years ago. Coordination between the groups is at its highest point ever. 
  • People tend to be experts in one or two areas which is economically efficient. However, if their area gets a “win” the state is saved. If a “loss” occurs, it is an apocalyptic event. In reality, no one piece of legislation has this kind of an impact.

    Overall, I mostly like what I have seen thus far. People may disagree on individual political issues, but there is no denying we are taking more steps forward than back.
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