PHOENIX (April 26, 2016) – The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry today announced that it will oppose several proposed anti-business ballot initiatives that would harm the state’s competitive standing.
Based on a recent vote by its board of directors, the Chamber will oppose:
Minimum wage hike: “The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act” seeks to raise the minimum wage to $12 by 2020; provide up to 40 hours of annual paid sick time depending on the size of the employer; and would permit cities to craft their own wage ordinances, allowing local minimum wages higher than the state’s.
“A dramatic hike in the minimum wage will harm job creators and job seekers,” Chamber President and CEO Glenn Hamer said. “Allowing cities to implement their own wage ordinances only compounds the pain, creating a new bureaucratic headache for businesses with operations in multiple jurisdictions, while hurting the young, the inexperienced and those attempting to break in to the labor market.
“We are hopeful that the Legislature will pass HCR 2014, which is a smartly crafted industry-backed alternative measure to counteract the minimum wage initiative and that would preempt municipalities from developing city-specific wage ordinances.”
Energy mandates: “The Arizona Solar Freedom Act” is an effort financed by out-of-state solar interests. It would amend the state constitution to require regulated utilities to buy rooftop solar generation at prices that are more than three times as expensive as alternative solar options. The initiative would also require an unreasonable timeframe for solar interconnections to the electrical grid, creating potential safety and reliability issues along with burdensome and costly evidentiary hearings.
“This is an end-run around the Corporation Commission that will result in a cost shift to businesses and will raise electricity rates, harming a leading indicator of the state’s economic competitiveness,” Hamer said. “If solar is going to thrive here, we need to ensure its viability with smart policies. We should not be amending our state constitution for a handful of out-of-state special interests.”
Compromising business’ right to free speech:“The Arizona Clean and Accountable Elections Act” would strengthen taxpayer-financed political campaigns and stifle the business community’s ability to participate in elections by reducing limits on private giving, creating more onerous disclosure rules and establishing other provisions that gut a major campaign finance reform, SB 1516, passed and signed into law earlier this legislative session.
“This is yet another attempt to chill speech in the political arena. If this initiative makes the ballot, voters should reject it,” Hamer said. “That the initiative doubles down on taxpayer-financed political campaigns adds insult to injury. Of all of the issues facing Arizona, taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for junk mail and robocalls.”
Caps on compensation: “The Hospital Executive Compensation Act” is an attempt by out-of-state labor organizers to limit the annual compensation of hospital leaders.
“This initiative sends the exact wrong message,” Hamer said. “Capping compensation prevents Arizona industries from being able to compete for and retain top talent. This is the opposite of economic development. It’s economic repellent.”
These opposition positions are in addition to the Chamber’s opposition to any attempts to legalize recreational marijuana, a position the board of directors adopted last year.
“These initiatives could inflict real damage on Arizona,” Hamer said. “If these initiatives were to pass, they would be nearly impossible to reverse in the future. The state has made too much economic progress to put our good work at risk. If voters are approached by petition signature gatherers pushing these bad ideas by out-of-state special interests, Arizonans should tell them to go home.”