Small business issues did well in 2014 Legislature
Friday, May 2, 2014
Posted by: Jerry Bustamante
The Arizona Legislature said sine die at 1:46 a.m., April 24th
and, after a sixteen-hour workday, concluding the regular session for
this year. Many of us who closely follow the state Legislature thought
that this might have been the first year in recent memory for lawmakers
to complete the business of the state in 100 days or less. They missed
it by one day.
They left a pretty significant piece of work undone: What to do
about protecting the children of Arizona. As a result, the Legislature
will reconvene for a special session sometime in May and focus
exclusively on creating a new agency to replace Arizona’s failed Child
With the exception of some turbulent days and
SB1062, the religious freedom bill that turned America against Arizona
for about a week, this year’s legislative session pretty much transpired
as expected. We expected a short legislative session given that it’s an
election year and members of both political parties were eager to get
the business of the state done and start campaigning.
We also expected the children of Arizona to be a
major issue after it was revealed in November that CPS closed roughly
6,000 cases of child abuse without investigation.
We also expected the budget to be a major issue
of debate now that our state’s economy is on the mend and some lawmakers
were anxious to restore funding to their state programs/agencies of
Now that the session is over, it’s a good time to
assess how Arizona businesses will be impacted be affected by the more
than 220 bills signed into law. I am pleased to report that Arizona
businesses can claim victory on a solid session and have much to
celebrate. Let me share with you some of the highlights.
Gov. Brewer’s moratorium on new regulations –
Regulatory burdens increase the cost of doing business in Arizona and
also discourage innovation and job creation. Each year, business groups
like the Arizona Small Business Association play a lot of defense at the
state capitol by killing bills that would increase regulations on
Arizona businesses. Despite pressure from different groups, Brewer held
strong and maintained her moratorium on new regulations, and we thank
her for her leadership.
Common Core was kept on track – Despite how many
people feel about Common Core, it is the new initiative that Arizona has
adopted that outlines what K-12 students should know at the end of each
grade level. Common Core stayed on track this year, and the Legislature
decided to fund the implementation of a student-level tracking system
to better understand what is succeeding in our K-12 educations system.
Reduced reporting requirements for small business
tax payers – Small businesses in Arizona that collect as little as
$2,000 annually in transaction privilege tax are required to file a
report and pay taxes on a monthly basis. The passage of HB2288 will
reduce that requirement to quarterly for businesses that collect between
$2,000 and $8,000 annually in TPT, and annually for those that collect
less than $2,000.
More state agencies can now operate like servicearizona.com – When was the last time you went to the MVD to renew your vehicle license plate? I can’t remember either, thanks to servicearizona.com,
which I believe is the best service that the state delivers. The
passage of HB2404 will now allow any state agency to use a “third party
electronic service provider” to conduct their business. This new law
will allow state agencies to operate more efficiently by using online
resources, resulting in less paper and fewer visits to agency offices.
Large manufacturers will find Arizona more
attractive – Attracting the Tesla’s of the world and retaining existing
manufacturers like Raytheon and Intel is not easy. The passage of
SB1413, the biggest economic development bill of the year, will exempt
large manufacturers in Arizona from paying taxes on the electricity they
consume in their manufacturing process. Arizona is one of the last
states to do away with this tax.
On behalf of the Arizona Small Business
Association and our 10,000-plus small business members across the state,
I wish to thank our state lawmakers for a successful legislative
session. Arizona’s economy continues to improve and the good public
policy developed this year at the state capitol will continue to fuel
our recovery and growth.
Jerry Bustamante is the ASBA vice president
for public policy and Southern Arizona. His column appears monthly in
Inside Tucson Business.