Arizona Chamber Executives
AS SEEN IN THE RED ROCK NEWS
November 6, 2020
Though we look forward to the holiday season, the management and board of directors of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau are already thinking about January, when the state legislature convenes for the first time since last spring.
A mountain of issues awaits lawmakers, with COVID-19 at the top of the heap. As a member of Arizona Chamber Executives, a statewide group of chambers of commerce, we support their positions on several key issues.
We back COVID-19 liability protection for businesses and the community. Safeguards against lawsuits will permit businesses to operate without having to fight unsupported claims that employees or customers contracted COVID-19 on the premises. The Arizona House passed HB2912 this spring, shielding businesses from COVID-19 related claims except those resulting from gross negligence. But the legislature adjourned before the Senate could act. We are supporting the provisions of HB2912 in the next session and encourage similar federal legislation.
We support keeping employers’ unemployment tax rates unaffected by COVID-19 related unemployment claims. Employers forced to shut down or reduce operations due to COVID-19 had no choice but to release their hardworking employees, a painful decision for everyone involved. The state unemployment tax rate for each business is based on their history of furloughing workers; generally, companies that lay off workers more frequently have a higher unemployment tax rate. In March, Governor Ducey issued an executive order that protects employers from higher unemployment tax rates due to the necessity of COVID-19 related layoffs. Twenty-five other states have done the same. We support the continuance of this policy.
Health insurance issues are also at the forefront. We join ACE in:
• Advocating for laws that remove mandates on small businesses, provide stability and certainty for the individual insurance marketplace and hospitals, protect the low-income and vulnerable, and do not shift expenses to the state or businesses.
• Support policies that allow chambers to provide group health plans to their members through the association health plan model. Associated Health Plans (AHPs allow small employers to band together to purchase the types of coverage that are available to large employers, which can lower costs. In 2018, the federal government adjusted Department of Labor rules to allow more groups and associations to form AHPs, but that change is now bogged down in the federal courts.
We back policies that permit small businesses to flourish, such as:
• Reducing business property taxes to help spur investment.
• Clarifying the laws regarding taxing of digital goods and services.
• Protecting the right of businesses to determine wage and benefit policies without undue government interference.
• Maintaining a regulatory environment that allows businesses to make decisions quickly and surely without burdensome regulations
• Opposing government burdens on management including on the ability to hire, terminate and retain employees or obtain licensure or business ownership.
ACE supports branding Arizona as a desirable tourism and business location, which we support. We also back more funding for positioning Arizona as a tourism destination as part of the state’s economic recovery priorities.
Advocating for the right policies is part of Sedona’s economic recovery process. We are collaborating with ACE and our partners at all levels of government, making sure we lend our voice in support of policies that help make Sedona the best place to live, work, play and visit.
Interim President/CEO and Director of Marketing