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online sales tax issue

Legislative Session Improves Business Landscape in Arizona

The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA), the largest trade association in Arizona representing over 11,000 member businesses in all 15 counties, tracked 65 bills during Arizona’s 51st Legislature (Jan. 14 – June 13, 2013), eight of which were Priority Bills. ASBA has announced all eight Priority Bills passed.

“We have a strong sense of responsibility to our members and Arizona’s business community,” states Jerry Bustamante, ASBA sr. vice president of public policy. “We understand that our actions influence how our elected officials vote and that our members hold us to a high standard.”

To advocate for businesses throughout Arizona, ASBA focused on five legislative priorities: 1) Taxation, 2) Regulation, 3) Economic Development, 4) Health Care and 5) Education.

“Bills signed into law such as HB 2147 and 2324 are excellent examples of a good public policy that, collectively, make Arizona more business-friendly and provide relief to existing businesses,” says Rick Murray, CEO of ASBA. “HB 2111, commonly known as TPT, on the other hand, is a single bill that will make a dramatic contribution that will completely change the landscape in which businesses operate. TPT will provide a much needed overhaul to an overly burdensome tax system.”

Bustamante adds, “ASBA is proud to have been part of, and have taken a leadership role in, the coalition of business groups that fought to reform TPT and bring much-needed relief to Arizona.”

The following were ASBA’s 2013 Priority Bills:

HB 2111: Transaction Privilege Tax Change (TPT)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Debbie Lesko, LD 21
  • Summary: This is the Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT) simplification bill that intends to significantly reform how sales taxes are collected in Arizona. The intent of the bill is to provide Arizona businesses with, and return Arizona to, a single organization that manages all tax and audit activities. The Arizona Department of Revenue would be charged with creating an online portal to provide a single location to get a TPT permit, file TPT returns and make TPT payments for all jurisdictions in the state.
  • Result: After much debate and compromise, HB 2111 passed out of the House with a 58-1 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 29-0 vote on the legislature’s final day and will soon arrive on Governor Brewer’s desk to be signed into law.

HB 2147: Unemployment Benefits; Proof; Eligibility

  • Sponsor: Rep. Warren Petersen, LD 12
  • Summary: This bill is the latest effort to reform how unemployment benefits are delivered in Arizona and attempts to level the playing field where businesses have been at a disadvantage. This bill provides much-needed relief to Arizona businesses by shifting the burden of proof on an applicant who resigned their employment but claims they were fired. Unemployment insurance applicants, rather than the employer, will have to demonstrate that they involuntarily left employment.
  • Result: HB 2147 passed out of the House with a 34-24 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 17-12 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

HB 2324: TPT Exemption; Leases; Affiliated Companies

(Municipal Tax Code; Leases)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, LD 12
  • Summary: This bill exempts commercial leases from TPT tax when the owner of the business and the building being leased is one in the same. Municipalities and special taxing districts are prohibited from levying a transaction privilege or use tax on gross income derived from leasing real property between affiliated companies, businesses or persons, or by a reciprocal insurer. Cities that do collect such taxes may continue to require payment until October of 2013.
  • Result: HB 2324 passed out of the House with a 58-0 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 29-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

HB 2336: Taxation; Retail Classification; Cash Equivalents

  • Sponsor: Rep. Tom Forese, LD 17
  • Summary: This bill exempts a number of items referred to as “cash equivalents” purchased in advanced in a dollar value denomination from retail TPT tax. These cash equivalents are gift cards, vouchers, money orders and traveler’s checks. No TPT is paid to buy a gift card, but TPT is paid when a gift card is used to purchase goods.
  • Result: HB 2336 passed out of the House with a 59-0 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 29-0 vote on the legislature’s final day and will soon arrive on Governor Brewer’s desk to be signed into law.

HB 2599: Procurement Code; Amendments

  • Sponsor: Rep. Justin Pierce, LD 25
  • Summary: This bill amends Arizona’s procurement code to more closely scrutinize state employees involved in purchasing decisions who move back and forth between government and private sector jobs. The bill also makes technical changes in how the state selects the winner of an RFP, and its overall intent is for government to operate more like the private sector.
  • Result: HB 2599 passed out of the House with a 59-0 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 24-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

SB 1168: Internal Revenue Code Conformity

  • Sponsor: Steve Yarbrough, LD 17
  • Summary: This bill makes changes to Arizona’s income tax laws to ensure that they conform to the federal IRS code in effect as of January 1, 2013.
  • Result: SB 1168 passed out of the Senate with a 28-0 vote, passed out of the House with a 58-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

SB 1169: Prop 117, Conformity

  • Sponsor: Steve Yarbrough, LD 17
  • Summary: This bill makes various changes to the Arizona revised statutes in order to conform to Proposition 117 (property tax assessed valuation; limitation), which was passed by Arizona voters during the 2012 general election. Proposition 117 had nothing to do with the tax rate, but caps at five percent the maximum increase in property value that taxable real property can grow in a certain year.
  • Result: SB 1169 passed out of the Senate with a 28-0 vote, passed out of the House with a 58-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

SB 1233: Limited Liability Companies; Ownership Interests

  • Sponsor: Senator Adam Driggs, LD 28
  • Summary: We refer to this bill as the estate planning bill. This bill amends the Limited Liability Company Act by adding a new provision that governs members as it relates to forms of ownership. An interest in a limited liability company (LLC) may be held by two or more people as joint tenants with right of survivorship, or by a married couple as community property with right of survivorship, except as prohibited or restricted in an operating agreement.
  • Result: SB 1233 passed out of the Senate with a 28-0 vote, passed out of the House with a 56-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

ASBA develops its policy positions and statements through its Public Policy Committee, which is comprised of ASBA members providing volunteer leadership and key ASBA staff. Under the direction of ASBA’s Board of Directors, the Public Policy Committee is charged with conducting research, surveying the membership, developing ASBA legislative priorities tracking bills and taking action to influence the passage or defeat of bills. Learn more about ASBA and its role in public policy, visit www.asba.com or call 602-306-4000 or 520.327.0222.

5 C's of Credit

ASBA addresses issues facing small business in 2013

January 7, 2013 – The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) will offer a forum for Arizona small business owners and supporters of the small business community to discuss the critical issues facing small businesses this year at the 2013 Small Business Outlook.  ASBA’s annual event will be highlighted by a panel of industry leaders who will delve into important topics such as public policy, sales tax, healthcare in Arizona and access to capital.  The event will be held Thursday, Jan. 17at The Phoenician in Scottsdale.

Panelists for the 2013 Small Business Outlook include:

  • Jerry Bustamante, Senior V.P. of Public Policy + Southern Arizona, ASBA
  • Michael Hunter, Director of Legislative Affairs and Special Advisor on Tax Policy & Reform, Office of the Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer
  • Don Hughes, Policy Advisor for Health Care, Office of the Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer
  • Craig Jordan, Lender Relations Specialist, Arizona District Office
  • John Oates, Head of State Government Affairs, Cigna

Rick Murray, CEO of ASBA, states, “At our Small Business Outlook, our expert panel will explore the main issues expected to rule the headlines and dominate the dialogue this year.”

One such topic is public policy. Panelist Jerry Bustamante, senior vice president of public policy for ASBA, will discuss why he predicts there will be more cooperation across party lines. He comments, “We are entering Arizona’s Legislative session with more clarity this year, in comparison to the many questions left unanswered at this time last year.”

Michael Hunter, director of legislative affairs and special advisor on tax policy and reform for the Office of the Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer, can explain, for example, how the Fiscal Cliff being averted affects Arizonans and what the new tax bill means to small business owners. Also from the Office of the Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer, Don Hughes, policy advisor for health care, can speak about new health care policies.

Cigna Head of State Government Affairs John Oates will discuss health care policy as well. He is responsible for legislative and regulatory advocacy in the states, and formerly served as a legislative aide in the Texas House of Representatives, a health policy analyst in the Texas Senate, a health policy advisor in the Governor’s office and as the Committee Director for the Senate Health Services.

Arizona District Office Lender Relations Specialist Craig Jordan will cover the topic of access to capital. Jordan will comment on the Small Business Association’s role in providing capital access to small businesses, loan production information, and the enhancements to programs and loan programs that currently exist.

The 2013 Small Business Outlook will commence at 7:30am and conclude at 10:00am on Thursday, Jan. 17.  The Phoenician is located at 6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. To register for the event, please visit asba.com/outlook or call (602) 306-4000.

The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) is the largest trade association in the state representing 11,000+ member businesses, and over ½ million employees in all 15 counties. ASBA members enjoy access to significant group discounts, countless opportunities to do business with each other, a wide array of insurance products, and active advocacy efforts on public policy issues to protect their businesses. Discover more at www.asba.com or by calling 602.306.4000 or 520.327.0222. Join ASBA. Be amAZed®

small business - ASBA advocacy

ASBA Shapes Public Policy For Arizona Small Businesses

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.

For more information on ASBA’s role in public policy and its 2012 legislative priorities and how it helps small businesses, visit asba.com/legislativesummary.