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ASBA's 2012 Legislative Agenda
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Arizona Small Business Association
2012 Legislative Agenda


The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) is an alliance of over 11,000 small businesses across Arizona employing more than 500,000 people. For 40 years, ASBA has been creating opportunities for businesses to make money, save money and to influence public policy with a unified voice. As a non-partisan, pro-business organization, ASBA is committed to making Arizona a leading state to launch, grow and support small business. ASBA is the "party” for business interests.

Founded by small business owners, ASBA is the largest trade association in the state and the only statewide association dedicated solely to serving and supporting small businesses. ASBA’s twelve talented employees in three regional offices are committed to the growth and prosperity of the small business community and actively advocate on behalf of the member businesses located in all fifteen counties and all thirty legislative districts. ASBA believes that what is good for Arizona’s small businesses is good for Arizona. The statistics bear this out. In Arizona, 97% of the businesses are classified as "small,” using the federal definition of less than 500 employees. Employing just over half of all private sector employees, small businesses generated 64 % of net new jobs over the past 15 years, and currently pay 44% of the total U.S. private payroll. Two out of every three jobs are created by small businesses.

Small businesses are and will continue to drive job growth and are the economic engine that will lead the Arizona economic recovery. ASBA supports a business environment that enables small businesses to effectively compete in national and global markets. Current economic and fiscal challenges make it more important than ever for Arizona small businesses to speak with a unified voice on public policy issues. ASBA is that voice.

Whether it’s opposing tax increases and regulations on small businesses, or working to control energy and health care costs, ASBA is on the front lines fighting for the issues that matter to Arizona small businesses. The following are ASBA’s current policy positions, which we believe will promote an improved environment for small business in Arizona.

Taxation– Arizona taxes on corporate income, state and local sales, gross receipts, capital gains and business property place costly constraints on small business owners, stifling entrepreneurship and job creation. ASBA supports a comprehensive reform of Arizona’s tax system to make it more competitive with other states and encourage business investment. In particular, ASBA supports measures to:

  • Reduce the complexity and reporting requirements of Arizona’s Transaction Privilege Tax.

  • Align the State’s Net Operating Loss Carry Forward with the Federal Carry Forward, thereby increasing the number of years a small business can claim a net operating loss from five to twenty years.

  • Supports reform that provides sustainability and growth to small businesses.

ASBA supports users paying the true cost of the government services they obtain, but opposes using fee increases as a means of funding general government operations.

Regulations – Excessive regulation and burdensome documentation are a strong hindrance to economic growth. The cost of regulation represents a fixed cost that every small business must overcome before it can afford employees and generate growth. ASBA strongly supports:

  • Limiting regulatory expansion extending to counties and cities, and conducting an objective economic analysis of any proposed new regulations.

  • Expediting business permitting and licensing practices, and extending the current suspension of new agency rules that raise business costs and are not required by federal law.

  • Publishing all state business regulations on the Secretary of State Department’s website

ASBA opposes arbitrary wage and hour mandates and other forms of state and federal encroachment into free enterprise.

Economic Development – Small businesses are a driving force in job growth and economic development in Arizona. In addition to reducing excessive taxes and regulations, ASBA favors legislation and incentives that enhance new and existing small businesses.

  • Accessible local sourcing programs

  • Improved access to capital for start-up and early-stage technology firms

  • Equitable unemployment insurance policies

  • Just workers’ compensation laws that protect the rights of employers

ASBA supports policies that make Arizona more competitive to retain, expand and attract businesses.

Education – ASBA believes sustainable economic growth requires a strong educational foundation. This means improving the effectiveness of Arizona’s teachers and schools and graduating "ready to work” students.

  • To recruit and maintain qualified instructors and administrators, ASBA supports the development of market- and achievement-based pay structures, professional development and mentoring programs, and loan forgiveness and other incentives for math and science teachers.

  • ASBA also favors initiatives to expand school choice through charter schools, distance learning, home schooling and career and technical education programs.

  • At the post-secondary level, ASBA supports education that provides a topnotch workforce to support economic growth, and is supportive of efforts to educate professionals in critical shortage areas, and programs that better align Arizona’s colleges and universities with employer needs.

ASBA encourages direct dialogue between post-secondary schools and trade associations to develop programs to produce students with skills immediately employable in Arizona.

Health Care – Affordable access to a range of health care options and freedom of choice are critical factors to small business owners. In fact, ASBA’s survey of Arizona entrepreneurs identified the cost of health care as a significant challenge to the future of their businesses. Conceptually, ASBA supports the establishment of a State Insurance Exchange with minimal regulations and with provisions that allow small businesses to join together and pool their risk to get better pricing on health insurance coverage for their employees. ASBA opposes mandate-driven policies that dictate coverage and services and place excessive, unnecessary costs and regulations on small business.

Summary
Arizona’s small businesses are vital to the prosperity and growth in the state. Small businesses account for a significant share of the state’s economic production and hiring. ASBA, as a member guided organization, will continue to form policy positions that address the pressing needs of small business owners.

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