Tag Archives: Sacks Tierney

Judith Dworkin - 50 Most Influential Women in AZ Business

Judith Dworkin – 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Judith DworkinManaging partner, Sacks Tierney

Dworkin’s practice is devoted primarily to Indian law and water resources law issues. She also teaches courses in water law and natural resources Law at the ASU College of Law and advises its Indian Law Program. She lectures regularly and publishes on topics relating to economic development on Indian reservations.

Surprising fact: “After earning a Ph.D. and pursuing a career as an academic at universities in Canada and the United States, I left academia, with a newborn son in tow, to enter law school.”

Biggest challenge: “Whether managing or negotiating, I try to understand the people sitting at the table, so I can find a solution that works for all. It’s a continuing challenge.”

Fifty Most Influential Women in Arizona Business – Every year in its July/August issue Arizona Business Magazine features 50 women who make an impact on Arizona business. To see the full list, read the digital issue >>

taxes

Tax reform aims to help small businesses

During the State of the Union address, President Obama said that tax reform is a key issue for small businesses today. Specifically, the president stressed that many small businesses are overwhelmed with administrative tasks associated with tax filing and deserve the opportunity to focus on strategic areas of their business that could help them grow and hire more workers.

“For many businesses, the complexity of the tax code is challenging,” said Ron Butler, partner at Ernst & Young in Phoenix. “Small businesses and entrepreneurs incur significant costs to interpret and apply federal tax rules and regulations and to produce the required information necessary to prepare accurate returns. They would benefit from a system that modernizes and simplifies their tax compliance and reporting obligations.”

According to the National Federation of Independent Business, tax compliance costs are 65 percent higher for small businesses than for big businesses, costing small business owners $18 billion to $19 billion per year.  In addition, nearly nine out of ten small businesses rely on outside tax preparers. With about half of the private sector workforce employed by a small business — a total of nearly 60 million Americans — these costs, along with tax rates as high as 44.6 percent, carry a heavy burden for small businesses.

“Record keeping and record retention are probably the most overwhelming administrative tasks (for small businesses),” said Donna Witherwax, tax partner at Grant Thornton in Phoenix. “Not only do they contribute to unproductive costs, they also divert attention from the more important tasks a small business owner should focus on. Small businesses often lack the resources to fully understand how the tax law affects their business.”

To put the need for reform succinctly: “Tax reform presents an opportunity to achieve tax code simplification and improve our nation’s present fiscal path,” Butler said.

To help put us on a better path, the House Ways and Means Committee released a set of proposals in March that are aimed at reforming tax laws for small businesses. As part of a broader, comprehensive tax reform package that would significantly lower rates for small businesses, the proposal would reform and try to simplify tax compliance for small businesses and provide certainty with respect to the ability of small businesses to recover certain costs immediately. These include widely supported reforms such as permanent Section 179 expensing and expansion of the “cash accounting” method, amongst other provisions.

“The most important thing for lawmakers to focus on in this tax reform is re-establishing rate equality,” Witherwax said. “That is, making sure that the current tax rate applied to income earned by an active small business that is organized as a partnership, S corporation or sole proprietorship is no higher than the rate applied to income earned by a normal C corporation. Normally, I would say they should focus on making it easier for small businesses to comply by providing simple and direct rules and additional safe harbors, as well as focusing on minimizing the record keeping burden. But this is not a normal tax reform process.”

Witherwax said the tax reform that is currently being discussed in Washington began as a quest to reduce the statutory corporate tax rate in order to address the disadvantage U.S multinationals face in competing with the multinationals of other nations as a result of the U.S. rate.

“There are good reasons to do that,” she said. “But reducing corporate rates alone would disadvantage those active small businesses that operate as partnerships, S corporations or sole proprietorships. Leaving their rate where it is while reducing the rate of their larger C corporation competitors would put these small businesses at a competitive disadvantage. A disadvantage that would be exacerbated  if the revenue lost by reducing the corporate rate is offset by changes that eliminate some of the business tax benefits that small businesses rely on. For these reasons, in this tax reform, rate equality is the most important thing.”

The good new is that the discussion draft released by the House Ways and Means Committee is designed to provide more uniform tax treatment for pass-through businesses such as sole proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations. The draft also includes proposals that would spur investment in equipment needed to grow business operations by providing permanent expensing of investments and property; would simplify tax and accounting practices by expanding the use of the simpler “cash accounting” method to businesses with gross receipts of $10 million or less; would provide relief for start-up and organizational costs by establishing a unified deduction for these expenses; and make tax compliance easier for partners and S corporation shareholders by reordering and simplifying the due dates of tax returns for partners and S corporations.

To create reform that’s going to work, experts say, it’s vital that they solicit first-hand feedback.

“Lawmakers should ask small business owners and their tax advisors what changes they want,” said John Hanson, a tax attorney with Sacks Tierney in Phoenix. “ They are best suited to propose worthwhile changes because they are dealing with these issues daily.”

Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee that released the set of proposals aimed at reforming the tax laws for small businesses, said he encourages small business owners and stakeholders to review the discussion draft and to share feedback with their lawmakers and the Ways and Means Committee.

“More Americans get their paycheck from small businesses than any other type of business or government,” Camp said in a statement. “If we really want to strengthen our economy and put more money in the pockets of American workers, we must fix the Tax Code and how it treats small businesses. In addition to all the complexity these Main Street businesses face, Washington currently taxes them at top rates nearly 10 percentage points higher than their corporate counterparts. That’s simply unfair to small businesses … These are the businesses we see every day, where so many of our friends, family and neighbors work … They need and deserve a Tax Code that works for them.”

THE IMPACT OF REFORM

Ron Butler, partner, Ernst & Young: “A broader, comprehensive tax reform package that lowers rates and simplifies tax rules for individuals, small businesses and corporations could be a driving force for economic growth and job creation in the American economy.”
John Hanson, tax attorney, Sacks Tierney: “Tax reform that reduces the compliance burden on small business owners will allow them to invest more resources in their businesses, become more profitable and create more jobs.”
Donna Witherwax, tax partner, Grant Thornton: “It depends on the tax reform we get.  If business rate equivalency can be restored, and a more efficient tax code adopted, small business could be a winner.”

Curtis A. Hildt, tax managing partner, Deloitte Tax LLP: “Small businesses will be able to focus their efforts toward business operations instead of weaving their way through a complex tax system.”

The Peoria Sports Complex is a prime example of a public-private partnership in Arizona.

Baseline Thoughts On Public-Private Partnerships in Arizona

 

There is no doubt that the idea of developing a project via a public-private partnership (or P3) remains the “belle of the ball” in many circles, with businesses and public entities trying to identify opportunities to work together on projects.

As popular as it is, the P3 concept is not new. It has been successfully used to fund a variety of project types around the world, including utility projects, schools, transportation projects, etc.

So, what is the draw of a P3 in contrast to other project delivery methods?

For starters, it permits the public entity to leverage its existing revenue sources. Further, many public entities are land-rich and cash-poor. For example, the U.S. Army controls roughly 12.7 million acres of land, making it one of America’s largest landholders.

Army holdings include more than 207,000 buildings, tens of thousands of roadway miles, and more than a million square yards of pavement. While the Army does not independently have the money to develop and/or maintain all of its holdings, the use of a P3 model provides an opportunity to collaborate with the private sector to develop new projects and renovate existing infrastructure.

Finally, all of the parties involved in a P3 benefit, as it permits a project that might not otherwise receive traditional financing to move forward, often at a faster rate.

From the comments above, in which everyone seems to win, it is hard to believe that every project is not developed via a P3. However, as are most things in life, utilizing a P3 to develop a project has a number of potential challenges. Here are just a few:

>> The advantage of flexibility is often tempered by lack of a clear understanding of how a P3 works. When confronted with nearly endless possibilities for how to structure a P3, would-be partners can find it difficult to determine how to proceed.

>> A P3 model poses different risks versus more conventional models. For example, under Arizona law, there is no right to impose a mechanics’ lien on a P3 project and no designated bond requirements. That raises the risk for general contractors, subcontractors, design professionals and suppliers seeking to protect their payment rights. Attempts to remedy this by amending the law have yet to be successful.

>> The risk window between the partners is much longer than with a traditional delivery method. For example, a developer decides to enter into a relationship with a tribal government to develop a resort property under a traditional delivery method utilizing conventional funding.

A tension on the part of the developer in engaging in this sort of relationship is whether the tribe will, in the event of a dispute, utilize its sovereign immunity argument. This is a real issue that both native communities and developers face in working together. And that risk window is maybe 18 months.

Now, imagine, the same project utilizing a P3 where the relationship between the public entity and the private entity is closer to a 50-year window. A lot of things can go wrong in a relationship over a half century. Accordingly, partners need to be confident in each other before moving forward under a P3 model.

rsz_matt_meakerNotwithstanding these challenges, it would be difficult to drive around the valley without seeing a P3 project, such as the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, CityScape, the Mesa Center for Higher Education, and the Peoria Sports Complex. Clearly, the use of a P3 model is, and will continue to be, a very important tool in Arizona’s development.

The above is intended to be the beginning of the exploration of this topic. Future articles will delve deeper into the P3 model and its use.

Matthew Meaker is a construction and real estate attorney with Sacks Tierney PA. He has been named to both the 2012 and 2013 Arizona Business Magazine’s Top Lawyer’s List for Construction Litigation and was just recently named as an Up and Comer in AZRE’s People to Know in Commercial Real Estate. To learn more about Meaker and the Construction Group Practice at Sacks Tierney PA, visit the website at sackstierney.com/services/construction.htm. He can be reached at Matthew.Meaker@Sackstierney.com.

 

 

 

 

Amy L. Lieberman, Insight Employment Mediation

2013 Az Business Mediation Guide

Az Business magazine’s 2013 Mediation guide was created after consultation with experts in the alternative dispute resolution field.

Amy Abdo
Fennemore Craig
602-916-5399
www.fclaw.com
Abdo has extensive experience in arbitration, mediation, investigations, administrative proceedings and litigation, including bench and jury trials.

Kevin T. Ahern
Broening Oberg Woods & Wilson, P.C.
602-271-7781
www.bowwlaw.com
Ahern’s practice is confined to mediations, neutral case evaluations, arbitrations, special master appointments and consultation in his areas of practice experience — real estate, commercial enterprises, title insurers, escrow agencies, insurance agencies, lenders, and property managers.

Shawn K. Aiken
Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi
602-248-8203
www.ashrlaw.com
Aiken devotes a substantial portion of his practice to mediation and arbitration, and was selected by Best Lawyers in America as Lawyer of the Year, 2012 (Mediation, Phoenix).

Rebecca Albrecht
Bowman and Brooke LLP
602-643-2459
www.bowmanandbrooke.com
A former Superior Court judge, Albrecht incorporates her vast experience and skills to her practice, which includes arbitration and mediation. Albrecht is an American Arbitration Association (AAA) certified arbitrator.

Gerald W. Alston
Jennings Strouss
602-262-5911
www.jsslaw.com
Alston serves as both an arbitrator and a mediator in all areas of civil litigation, including domestic relations, eminent domain, and matters involving real estate and contract disputes. Cummins has extensive trial experience in the areas of health care and is an experienced arbitrator and mediator.

Christian C.M. Beams
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
602-440-4818
www.rcalaw.com
Beams is an accomplished neutral who has resolved countless disputes through the mediation and arbitration processes. He is diligent in his efforts to bring matters to resolution, as evidenced by his high success rate in doing so.

Maureen Beyers
Osborn Maledon
602-640-9305
www.omlaw.com
Nationally recognized as a top arbitrator, Beyers has served as a neutral in hundreds of arbitrations on a variety of business disputes, and is a member of many of the American Arbitration Association’s specialized panels.

Gary L. Birnbaum,
Richard A. Frielander, and Michael S. Rubin
Mariscal, Weeks, McIntyre & Friedlander
602-285-5000
www.mwmf.com
Five of the firm’s senior lawyers are actively and continuously involved in alternative dispute resolution, including acting as arbitrators, mediators and neutral case evaluators in Arizona and throughout the Southwest.

Denise M. Blommel
Denise M. Blommel PLLC
480-425-7272
www.azlaborlaw.com
Blommel has more than 28 years of experience as an employment and labor law attorney, 15 years as a practicing mediator, including seven years serving as a contract mediator for the U.S. Postal Service.

Brice Buehler
Brice E. Buehler, P.C.
602-234-1212
www.bricebuehler.com
Since 1987, Buehler has mediated or arbitrated more than 2,500 disputes, including corporate, commercial, partnership, professional malpractice, and construction.

John R. Dacey,
Michael R. King,
Richard K. Mahrle
Gammage and Burnham
602-256-0566
www.gblaw.com
As part of Gammage and Burnham’s practice, several attorneys are available to serve as mediators or arbitrators in employment, construction, general, commercial and other litigation matters.

David J. Damron
David J. Damron, LLC
602-476-1836
www.damronadr.com
Damron specializes in alternative dispute resolution including mediation, settlement conferences and arbitration. Damron has mediated many hundreds of matters in his practice through the years and his participation as a Judge Pro Tem.

Paul F. Eckstein
Perkins Coie
602-351-8222
www.perkinscoie.com
Eckstein’s practice is focused on civil litigation and he also frequently serves as a mediator and arbitrator.

Michele M. Feeney
Michele M. Feeney L.L.C.
602-682-7513
www.mmflaw.com
Devoting her practice to mediation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, Feeney has litigated cases in the areas of medical malpractice, wrongful death, personal injury and other tort litigation.

Lawrence H. Fleischman
The Fleischman Law Firm
520-326-6400
www.fladr.com
Fleischman created the first Center for Dispute Resolution in the Arizona Superior Court system, saving litigants and taxpayers millions of dollars each year. To date, he has mediated more than 6000 cases for clients.

Sherman D. Fogel
Sherman D. Fogel, P.A.
602-264-3330
www.shermanfogel.com
Fogel is a full-service conflict management and dispute resolution professional, providing mediation, arbitration and facilitation services.

Richard N. Goldsmith
Lewis and Roca
602-262-5341
www.lrlaw.com
Goldsmith mediates commercial disputes and has extensive experience handling matters related to Articles 2 and 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, commercial and real estate lending and leasing, and loan documentation.

Brian Michael Goodwin
Polsinelli
602-650-2001
www.polsinelli.com
Goodwin is a professionally trained mediator and has served as a judge pro tempore with the Maricopa County Superior Court from 1982 to 2005. He currently conducts private mediations and arbitrations.

Alona Gottfried,
Jared Simmons
Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC
480-998-1500
www.sglawaz.com
Simmons & Gottfried’s attorneys are specially trained to handle mediations and settlement conferences as a way to resolve issues in a cost-effective manner. Specialties include family matters, commercial and business issues, employment disputes, and real estate matters.

J. Alex Grimsley
Bryan Cave LLP
602-364-7117
www.bryancave.com
Grimsley has represented a variety of domestic and foreign companies in international arbitrations and before various federal regulatory agencies.

Rebecca A. Winterscheidt
Snell & Willmer
602-382-6343
www.swlaw.com
Through early intervention mediation, Winterscheidt assists parties in reaching a mutual resolution of their dispute without the need for costly litigation.

William Haug,
Chad Schexnayden
Jennings, Haug & Cunningham, LLP
602-234-7800
www.jhc-law.com
Attorneys who practice Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) at JHC represent businesses, government agencies and individuals involved in business disputes.

Marc Kalish
602-956-3608
www.arizonamediator.com
Since receiving formal mediation training in 1995, Kalish has devoted his law practice almost exclusively to providing alternative dispute resolution services as both an arbitrator and mediator.

Amy L. Lieberman
Insight Employment Mediation
480-246-3366
www.insightemployment.com
Lieberman’s practice is focused on the prevention and resolution of workplace and business conflict. She mediates primarily employment and commercial matters.

Merton E. Marks
Merton E. Marks, PC
480-544-4324
www.mertonemarks.com
Marks is a nationally known arbitrator and mediator of commercial disputes involving insurance, reinsurance, securities and product liability.

Bruce E. Meyerson
Bruce Meyerson PLLC
602-277-4585
www.brucemeyerson.com
Meyerson regularly serves as a mediator in virtually all aspects of commercial, employment, construction, real estate and business litigation.

Robert J. Milligan
Milligan Lawless, P.C.
602-792-3500
www.milliganlawless.com
Milligan specializes in health care law and mediation of litigated cases and pre-litigation disputes.

Leah Pallin-Hill
Mediation and Arbitration Services, PLLC
602-387-5323
www.leahpallinhill.com
Pallin-Hill offers ADR for general civil matters, including commercial disputes, construction, condemnation, employment, family, malpractice, elder abuse/nursing homes, personal injury, probate, and real estate.

Susan M. Robbins
Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC
623-889-0691
www.phoenixlawteam.com
Robbins is a member of the State Bar Alternative Dispute Resolution Section and is also a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution. She is active in the area of mediation and disputes and contested matter in elder law.

David L. Rose,
Sharon B. Shively,
David C. Tierney
Sacks Tierney
480-425-2600
www.sackstierney.com
In addition to serving on some of the AAA’s most sought-after arbitration panels, Sacks Tierney attorneys regularly appear as advocates in arbitrations (or mediations) under AAA rules, or in State Court arbitrations convened under an arbitration agreement.

Ira M. Schwartz
DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy, P.C.
602-282-0500
www.deconcinimcdonald.com
Schwartz actively serves as a mediator and arbitrator of intellectual property disputes.

Stephen H. Scott,
Christopher M. Skelly
Scott & Skelly, L.L.C.
602-277-8228
www.scottandskelly.com
Scott is a former judge on the Arizona Superior Court who now serves full-time as a mediator, arbitrator, appraisal umpire and discovery master. Skelly has conducted thousands of mediations in virtually every kind of civil case.

Brian E. Smith
Brian Smith Mediation & Arbitration
480-507-8895
www.bsmed-arb.com
Smith has established himself as a proven mediator, impartially assisting and guiding parties to effectively facilitate their self-determined mutual decision making which is the cornerstone of the mediation process.

Thomas L. Toone
Beer & Toone, P.C.
602-263-0900
www.beer-toone.com
Toone has served as settlement judge, arbitrator or mediator in more than 2,300 cases in Maricopa County.

Douglas G. Zimmerman
Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, PLLC
480-733-6800
www.davismiles.com
Zimmerman is a certified mediator by The Institute for Conflict Management, LLC and completed the Advanced Negotiation Skills Program at the Harvard Law School Negotiation Insight Initiative.

Mark D. Zukowski
Jones, Skelton and Hochuli, P.L.C.
602-263-1759
www.jshfirm.com
Zukowski is a construction and commercial arbitrator and mediator for the AAA. He also serves as a private arbitrator and mediator and as a settlement conference Judge Pro Tem for the Maricopa County Superior Court.

Matthew Meaker

Construction Law Attorney Matthew Meaker Joins Sacks Tierney

 

Construction law attorney Matthew B. Meaker  joined the Scottsdale law firm of Sacks Tierney P.A.

Meaker, a Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” selectee, is a member of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors Industry Advisory Council and the American Subcontractors Association.

Founded in 1960, Sacks Tierney is a full-service law firm that, for each of the past two years, has achieved Ranking Arizona’s top ranking among law firms with 25-50 attorneys.