Election Lessons: No Mandate for Business?

by Mike Hunter

Results are in and, after an exhaustive campaign season, it seems that this year’s election has no mandate for business and we may be in for more of the same from our government. The President is as he was, the House and Senate are as they were (at least leadership-wise), and local elections and propositions seemed to say little in giving business owners any further direction.

It’s not a simple Romney vs. Obama distinction. Even in Arizona, where the ostensibly “pro-business” candidate won the state’s electoral college votes, voters defeated the “Small Business Job Creation Act” (Proposition 116). This act would have amended the Arizona Constitution to allow the state to give businesses a larger break on taxes paid on newly acquired equipment or machinery. The proposition failed despite support by Senate President-elect Andy Biggs and support by the National Federation of Independent Business. It was the only proposition on the Arizona ballot in this year’s election that was directed to strengthening the economy.

On a local level, many contests were closer than usual. And, although the state overall went for the Republican presidential candidate, Democrats made gains in the state legislature. The Arizona State Senate gained four Democrats (13 Democrats, 17 Republicans) and the House gained five Democrats (24 Democrats, 36 Republicans).

As a result, Arizona business owners may expect to see more of the same as they decide what to do over the economy. Unchanged are: Obamacare is moving full-steam ahead and will take full effect as regulators determine how to implement changes; the battle will continue over top-end taxes, potentially increasing taxes for some small businesses; corporate and investment taxes will fall from the current rate of 35 percent (Obama’s proposed
28 percent slightly higher than Romney’s proposed 25 percent); regulations remain intact, so no rollback of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act or changes to Sarbanes-Oxley financial reporting law; and stimulus spending will continue to be a real option.

While more of the same may keep business second-guessing what the future of the economy will be, perhaps the only “mandate” that voters expressed is that there are no easy answers to fears regarding jobs and the economy.

Arizona Election Results
Arizona precincts reporting: 100%

U.S. President Votes Percent
 Obama (D)   929,422  44.0%
 Romney (R)  1,141,974  54.0%
 Johnson (L)  28,556  1.4%
Congress — Dist. 1 Votes Percent
 Kirkpatrick, Ann (D) 116,148 48.5%
 Paton, Jonathan (R) 108,640 45.4%
Congress — Dist. 2 Votes  Percent 
 McSally, Martha (R) 137,339 49.8%
 Barber, Ron (D) 137,993 50.0%
Congress — Dist. 3 Votes  Percent
 Saucedo Mercer, Gabriela (R) 58,258  37.7%
 Grijalva, Raul M. (D) 89,278 57.8%
Congress — Dist. 4 Votes Percent
 Gosar, Paul (R) 156,369 66.9%
 Robinson, Johnnie (D) 66,064 28.3%
Congress — Dist. 5 Votes Percent
 Salmon, Matt (R) 166,897 67.5%
 Morgan, Spencer (D) 79,966 32.3%
Congress — Dist. 6 Votes Percent
 Schweikert, David (R) 163,755 61.6%
 Jette, Matt (I) 88,151 33.2%
Congress — Dist. 7 Votes Percent
 Pastor, Ed (D) 89,543 80.8%
 Cobb, Joe (L) 20,721 18.7%
Congress — Dist. 8 Votes Percent
 Franks, Trent (R) 157,517 63.6%
 Scharer, Gene (D) 86,047 34.8%
Congress — Dist. 9 Votes Percent
 Parker, Vernon B. (R) 101,089  45.2%
 Sinema, Kyrsten (D) 108,056 48.3%
Prop. 114: Crime victims not liable
for harm to attacker
Votes Percent
 Yes 1,537,441 80.2%
 No 379,275 19.8%
Prop. 115: Involve political
office-holders in judge selection
Votes Percent
 Yes 506,594 27.5%
 No 1,336,121 72.5%
Prop. 116: Property tax breaks
on newly acquired equipment 
Votes Percent
 Yes 787,866 44.1%
 No 1,000,066 55.9%
Prop. 117: Limits on
property-tax growth
Votes Percent
 Yes 1,043,965 56.7%
 No 796,796 43.3%
Prop. 118: Change investment formula
for state land trust funds
Votes Percent
 Yes 878,476 50.7%
 No 854,962 49.3%
Prop. 119: Allow state
trust land exchanges
Votes Percent
 Yes 1,108,381 62.4%
 No 668,427 37.6%
Prop. 120: State sovereignty Votes Percent
 Yes 570,776 32.1%
 No 1,208,591 67.9%
Prop. 121: Adopt a top-two primary
election system
Votes Percent
 Yes 605,340 32.8%
 No 1,240,253 67.2%
Prop. 204: Renew 2010’s “temporary”
1-cent sales tax
Votes Percent
 Yes 700,578 35.9%
 No 1,251,454 64.1%

Source: Arizona Secretary of State. All results are as of time of press.

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