PHOENIX, ARIZ. (Jan. 18, 2023) — Transportation and broadband infrastructure. Clear development agreements. Make Arizona more competitive. Ensuring a qualified workforce. Water conservation.
Those are some of the main policy priorities for 2023 being embraced by the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED), according to Executive Director Carrie Kelly.
“Our 2023 policy priorities are part of the ongoing multi-year strategic plan we set for the organization,” Kelly said. “While the plan includes new elements, the original pillars of the organization – educate, advocate, and collaborate – remain the same. How AAED accomplishes the goals and fulfills the policy priorities has changed with time. We look forward to a very ambitious and successful 2023.”
The 2023 AAED policy priorities:
- Fund transportation and broadband infrastructure: AAED supports mechanisms that encourage the development, maintenance, and improvement of transportation and broadband infrastructure, which results in business development and job creation. Technological advances must be included when considering transportation needs. This critical infrastructure ensures Arizona’s competitiveness in attracting and retaining businesses into our communities.
- Support policies that encourage clarity in development agreements: Recent court decisions have called into question the appropriate use of incentives that have a direct benefit to Arizona communities. AAED supports policies that provide incentive use clarity to developers and municipalities throughout the state.
- Expand economic development programs to make Arizona more competitive:
AAED supports programs and policies that encourage businesses to expand in Arizona and enhance the state’s competitive position in attracting and retaining high-wage jobs. AAED also supports policies and investments that promote reliable and affordable electric service that emphasizes resource adequacy, price stability, and consumer protection as a foundation of Arizona’s continued economic success. AAED also supports performance-based and return-driven policies and encourages a diversity of businesses to locate and remain in Arizona for the long term, enhancing Arizona’s competitive efforts to attract and retain high-wage jobs and encourage capital investment.
- Ensure a qualified workforce and workforce pipeline: AAED supports sustainable policies and funding for education and training programs that result in a thriving qualified Arizona workforce. Supporting not only a healthy innovation pipeline but also a robust internship and craft training ecosystem have verifiable impacts on the overall economic health of our state. AAED supports Arizona career and technical education (CTE) districts and programs, increasing awareness for students to access it and in obtaining in-demand industry credentials. A qualified workforce with a balance of post-secondary education and workforce training will support Arizona’s competitiveness in retaining and attracting high-wage jobs.
- Retain and modernize existing economic development tools: For Arizona to remain competitive amid an ever-changing global economy, it must continue to evaluate its economic development programs. Programs should reflect the state’s focus for business attraction, growth, and retention when compared to other parts of the world. AAED membership opposes unnecessary changes that reduce or delay existing and proven economic development tools and programs. Many companies choose to relocate or expand in Arizona because of these programs. The need to remain consistent and competitive is critical to Arizona’s long-term economic development success.
- Water is critical to continued economic growth: AAED applauds the Arizona Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey for their investment in water conservation, reuse and augmentation projects. While outstanding details should be addressed, the legislation charts a path forward. AAED also believes the Bureau of Reclamation reduction mandates should be shared by all Colorado River Basin states. Arizona has been a world leader in water management. Other states should follow our lead.
“With more than 30 freshmen legislators and a new governor, AAED is looking at this legislative session with a strong sense of optimism,” Kelly said. “We’re looking forward to educating and working with all lawmakers to continue advancing Arizona’s strong economy.”