Before ringing in 2022, back on the biggest stories of 2021

The year 2021 is in its final hours. Before we announce a healthier and more prosperous year 2022, here are my top 10 business and policy stories of the year:

1. Single tax reform

Considering the potential imposition of one of the highest personal tax rates in the country, the state legislature and Governor Doug Ducey have ensured that Arizona’s tax environment remains the one that attracts job creators and creates economic opportunities. Together, they adopted a $ 1.3 billion tax cut plan that offered a flat tax rate of 2.5%. But they didn’t stop there. They also reduced the commercial property tax assessment ratio from 18% to 16% over four years, and they adopted another small business tax filing option. Combine these reforms with the state’s Supreme Court ruling in August that Proposition 208 – the measure to raise Arizona’s top tax rate by nearly 78 percent – was unconstitutional, and 2021 has been a very good year for taxpayers.

2. Resumption of record jobs

Proving that public policy matters, few states have recovered from the pandemic-induced slowdown like Arizona. We learned in August from the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity that Arizona had recovered 100% of the private sector jobs it had lost since April 2020, the third fastest recovery in the country. By November, the state had recovered more than 100% of all jobs lost, and saw one of the largest month-over-month unemployment declines in the country, resulting in an unemployment rate of 4.7%, the lowest in more than a decade.

3. Arizona is one of the best in the country for immigration

Americans vote with their feet. The freest people in the world can rent a U-Haul and choose anywhere in the country to call home. In 2021, Americans chose Arizona, making the state one of the top four gainers in population and one of the top 3 in terms of total net migration gains. When the House and our business colleagues evangelize the power of free market politics, that is what we are talking about.

4. Intel’s record investment

Intel in March announced plans to build two new factories at its Chandler Ocotillo plant, representing a $ 20 billion investment, the largest in state history, which will translate into 15,000 local jobs long. term. Not only is the investment huge, it solidifies Arizona’s place as the hub for the jobs that will define the next decade and beyond. Forbes has rightly called Arizona “Semiconductor Central”.

5. New generation manufacturing

This investment from Intel is just one example of how Arizona’s reputation for next-gen manufacturing grew in 2021. The stories were frequent and abundant. ElectraMeccanica has announced that its 235,000 square foot manufacturing facility will be operational by next summer and that its Solo electric vehicle is undergoing validation testing. KORE Power has announced the arrival of a one-of-a-kind lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in Buckeye. Lucid Motors celebrated the official start of production of its vehicles at the company’s Casa Grande facility, and the Lucid Air model won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award. Nikola delivered its first Tre battery electric vehicle (BEV) pilot truck fresh from its Coolidge plant. These are the types of headlines that make other states envy, and these are the jobs that will propel the economy forward for years to come.

6. Liability guarantees

The legislature and Governor Ducey passed and signed Bill SB 1377, legislation that establishes common sense liability protections for healthcare providers, businesses, schools and universities, nonprofits and government entities that take responsible action to prevent the spread of the virus. The bill was good news for companies returning to a semblance of normalcy without having to worry about the threat of abusive litigation.

7. Deployment of nationally recognized vaccines, new therapeutic innovations

It has been a year of vaccines and therapeutic innovations as Arizona has done its part to beat the pandemic. The White House has recognized Arizona’s fantastic mass vaccination site at State Farm Stadium, and the Ducey administration and county health departments have deployed additional sites across the state, ensuring that any Arizona that wanted the life-saving vaccine could get it. Arizona Chamber members were often behind the scenes, mobilizing their workforce to volunteer at the venues and have them hum with remarkable efficiency. And thank you to the pharmaceutical innovators in our country, who not only developed the vaccines in record time, but also created revolutionary antiviral pills that will keep cases positive for Covid out of the hospital. These companies and our nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals will make 2022 a brighter year. They deserve our sincere thanks.

8. Regulatory modernization

More paperwork has been reduced in 2021 to meet the times we live in. Making sure we can get cocktails to go with our take-out orders may not seem like a great policy innovation, but the bipartisan effort has demonstrated the willingness of Arizona policymakers to ensure that our regulatory environment is in place. sense in the face of changing times. The legislature and governor have also removed the deterrent for businesses to appeal negative decisions of state agencies by making the lawyer’s fee collection status for non-tax administrative actions consistent with regular tax appeals, and they raised the overall ceiling for reimbursed expenses. Granted, it’s the kind of weeded regulatory reform that may not have made the headlines, but it makes Arizona a better state to do business.

9. Build Back Better bites the dust

The massive domestic spending bill that President Joe Biden made a centerpiece of his 2021 domestic agenda failed before the end of the year, which was good news for job creators and all. those who worried about inflation rates at Jimmy-Carter’s level. But it wasn’t just the price of tax hikes and transfer payments – it was rotten policy, with measures ranging from environmental regulations to freebies to big Labor and trial lawyers, to meddling. in the price of drugs, all of which resulted in a bill so big and so bad that it deserved to collapse under its own weight. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin received a lot of ink for his refusal to follow the artificial White House and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s timetable for passing the bill, but the Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema deserves credit for his work to make a bad bill a little better. We need her and Senator Mark Kelly to continue the fight in 2022 if there is an attempt to resuscitate this legislation.

10. PRO Act collapses

Arizona’s Sinema and Kelly stepped up their refusal to sign as co-sponsors of the Right to Organize Act, or PRO, in 2021. The bill contained a litany of items on the list. union wishes, all of which are said to have driven a wedge between job creators and employees and sparked litigation and headaches. After a party line vote in the House, things looked grim, but Sens. Sinema and Kelly fell apart, depriving Senator Schumer of the 50 co-sponsors he says he needs to put the bill to a vote. . If the Filibuster stays put, Bill faces a tough road, but that’s a big “if”, and Schumer would love nothing more than an excuse to dump the Filibuster and get through the PRO. Act as a stand-alone bill or paste it into Build Better back. No matter what the strategy, our senators have the power to stop it.

This is just a glimpse of the business and political gains that have defined a year with the potential for dozens more, on topics ranging from infrastructure and the labor market to cryptocurrency and NFTs. (to name a few). In the Arizona House, we look forward to 2022, which we are confident will be another year of job creators, lawmakers from both sides and the governor working together for a more vibrant and resilient Arizona on economically. Good year.

Danny Seiden is President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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