Chamber to oppose income tax increase, health care mandate package, and legalized marijuana
PHOENIX (June 25, 2020)—The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the state’s leading business advocacy organization, announced today that it would oppose three initiatives attempting to secure a spot on the November ballot.
An initiative to impose an income tax surcharge of 3.5% on certain earners, including small businesses
Arizona Chamber President & CEO Glenn Hamer: “Arizona’s economy is not immune to the consequences of the pandemic. As the state begins its reopening, we face a historically high unemployment rate and record-level jobless claims and business closures. If this initiative passes, it will do tremendous damage to our economic recovery efforts, especially to our small businesses, while falling far short of what it’s promised for Arizona schools and teachers.
“Arizona businesses value teachers. They are preparing our most precious resource for our shared future. They have earned the 20% raise that takes full effect with the start of the new school year. We all want to improve teacher pay, but this attempt is dangerous. If it were to pass, the highest income tax rate for the affected taxpayers would increase by a whopping 78%, dramatically undermining Arizona’s ability to grow jobs when we need them most.”
An initiative to impose new mandates on the health care sector, including a new health care-specific minimum wage structure
Hamer: “Out-of-state special interests are attempting to make health care in Arizona more expensive and put our hospitals at tremendous risk, especially those in rural areas. During this global pandemic, we’ve already asked so much of our health care heroes; this initiative only makes things more difficult. Arizona voters won’t be fooled. Many of the policies proposed by the initiative have long since been addressed by existing law. But the new mandates proposed by this initiative will leave Arizona hospitals with only bad options: pass the higher costs on to patients; reduce care; or close their doors. Dramatically increasing health care costs at a time when the Arizona economy is already struggling will devastate hardworking families and delay the state’s economic recovery.”
An initiative to legalize recreational marijuana
Hamer: “Arizona voters in 2016 rejected marijuana legalization. They should do so again. Despite the assurances of marijuana proponents, more harm than good will result from legalization. The potential consequences of legalization are severe, ranging from an uptick in workplace accidents and lower overall workplace productivity, to jeopardizing our workforce development efforts.
“If legalization passes by this initiative, it will be essentially carved in stone. Current Arizona law severely limits the ability of the Legislature to reverse or alter a voter-passed measure, even in cases of severe unintended consequences or a public health emergency. We should not pass a new law by initiative that will be impossible to ever change or undo, nor should we encourage special interests to use Arizona’s ballot box as a personal laboratory for risky experiments.”
Hamer comments on all three initiatives:
“If these initiatives pass, they could change the entire fabric and future of the state. With smart, prudent policies we can exit the pandemic the same way we entered it—with one of the country’s strongest economies. Returning stronger gets exponentially more difficult, however, if these initiatives become law. Between now and Election Day we look forward to discussing with voters why rejecting each one of these initiatives is the wise decision.”
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