About 10 years ago, NAIOP Arizona made a concerted effort to engage in public policy advocacy at the state capitol in order to attract and grow more high-paying jobs to our state. During this time, we have had a number of successes in the area of lowering commercial property tax assessment ratios. Where we had among the Top 5 worst rankings in the U.S., Arizona is now moving toward the middle.
This past session, we worked with a number of other business trade associations to allow many manufacturing firms that help produce these high-paying jobs to no longer pay sales taxes on their electricity or natural gas consumption. This top priority of NAIOP-AZ, SB 1413, now brings Arizona more into alignment with other states in the union for this tax treatment.
While we have had great success in helping to make our state more competitive in tax policy, Arizona has suffered some recent economic development image setbacks such as SB 1070 related to illegal immigration enforcement and SB 1062 related to religious freedom in the eyes of supporters and discrimination to detractors.
In order to help prevent some of these perceptual challenges in the future, our NAIOP-AZ Board of Directors has set aside up to $100,000 from our reserves to help elect state legislators who are more sensitive to our national image in this election cycle.
The key caveat to our investment is that the races we get involved in must be to help educate voters in favor of candidates vetted and endorsed by the general business community like the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The further caveat is that our contributions need to be used for positive independent expenditures to educate voters rather than “hit pieces” against their opponents.
With the upcoming change in the governor’s chair this November, the commercial real estate industry is in a unique position to do our part to continue to make Arizona a beacon for job creation with a like-minded state legislature rather than the butt of jokes on the national talk show circuit.