The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA), the largest trade association in Arizona representing over 11,000 member businesses, has ramped up its public policy focus over the past few years at the state and federal level to advocate for small businesses throughout Arizona. After surveying its members, ASBA determined the following five areas as its 2012 Legislative Priorities: 1) Taxation, 2) Regulation, 3) Economic Development, 4) Health Care and 5) Education.
“We are committed to stronger representation and increased advocacy for small businesses at the state and federal level to make Arizona more business friendly,” states ASBA CEO Rick Murray. “And because of our size, ASBA has the clout to shape public policy.”
This year, ASBA had 13 priority bills to help support small businesses, six of which were passed and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer. Among them:
HB 2123 “Transaction Privilege Tax Reform Committee”
Establishes a 13-member Committee to study, make recommendations and propose legislation to revise Arizona’s tax code to reflect the 21st Century economy. This includes both individual and corporate income tax, as well as transaction privilege tax, or sales tax.
HB2159 “Unemployment Insurance; Independent Contractors; Appeals”
Clarifies language on unemployment insurance and essentially increases the amount of time an employer has to file various appeals on unemployment insurance claims.
HB2272 “Public Records Exemption, Research Data”
The exemption from public records laws for certain state university records is expanded to include information or intellectual property that is developed by persons employed by a university. This will protect the private sector’s intellectual property and encourage more research and clinical studies conducted in Arizona.
“Public policy is a priority of ASBA,” says Jerry Bustamante, senior vice president of public policy for ASBA. “We had a very productive legislative session this year with many wins that Arizona businesses are going to benefit from.” Bustamante adds that, while ASBA advocates for small businesses at the state and federal level, it also works with local chambers of commerce throughout Arizona on legislative issues and encourages them to take the lead and be the voice of business in their communities and city hall.
ASBA has a Public Policy Committee of dedicated volunteer members and staff that are charged with conducting research, surveying the membership, developing its legislative priorities, tracking bills and taking action to influence the passage or defeat of bills. In addition, Murray and Bustamante are Lobbyists and the organization maintains a Lobbyist dedicated to attending each day of the legislative session.