With the role as the principal advocate for science- and technology-based companies in the state, you can imagine there really is little down time for the Arizona Technology Council. That’s especially true when it comes to public policy. While you are gearing up for the holidays, we already are looking ahead to January when we, through members of our Public Policy Committee, meet with and testify before members of the Legislature when they convene the 54th session.
To help lawmakers, we annually prepare a Public Policy Guide. In creating this document, the Committee relies heavily on the Council’s mission by preparing key ideas, goals and legislative initiatives that:
- Improve the business climate for technology-based companies,
- Provide sources of risk capital that encourage entrepreneurship,
- \Create an environment that supports science- and technology-related job retention and creation, and
- Attract, train and retrain the talent required to compete in a global innovation economy.
While this year’s guide includes a variety of positions to aid elected officials and other stakeholders at all levels of government and business as they craft legislation, the Council for 2018 has set the following priorities for Arizona’s Legislature:
Restore the fourth-year funding for career and technical education (CTE): Support budgeting and programming for funding of CTE to maximize and accelerate acquisition of knowledge and skills essential to increasing high-demand industry certifications and credentials.
Appropriately fund the state’s education system: Fund all levels, including pre-kindergarten, full-day kindergarten, K-12 and postsecondary. Short-term reforms should include funding K-12 education according to the Proposition 301 formula, as well as alternative ideas to appropriately fund pre- and full-day kindergarten, K-12, CTE, universities and community colleges. Long-term comprehensive funding reforms should modernize and promote a 21st century delivery model of education that focuses on performance and accountability.
Create and fund a job training program: Reinstate a funding structure to the Arizona Job Training grant program administered by the Arizona Commerce Authority to help attract and grow businesses here. In the 2015 legislative session, the Job Training tax was repealed from the fiscal 2017 budget — one year before it was scheduled to sunset. This tax provided funds to attract new businesses, and support small and rural Arizona companies by offering reimbursable grant money for job training to new and existing employees.
Change the Refundable Research & Development Tax Credit to make it accessible to more small businesses: Expand the program to meet the needs of the early-stage companies that are investing in research and development dollars and earning credits without having the tax liability to which they can apply them. The program is capped at $5 million per year. Historically, this money has been allocated quickly, showing a much higher demand than the existing funding levels.
For your convenience, we offer a copy of the guide on our website. We also encourage you to join us in taking a stand when lawmakers drop the gavel in January.
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