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September 2016 Membership Anniversaries

We are thrilled to recognize the following members for their continued support of the Gilbert Chamber.  Please look for the 2016-17 window decal at these businesses and be sure to thank them for their support in fostering a healthy and sustainable business climate here in Gilbert.

September 2016

25+ Years
Atmosphere Commercial Interiors

21-24 Years
Gilbert Promotional Corporation
Morrison Ranch, Inc.
Pioneer Landscaping Materials, INC
Republic Media (The Arizona Republic,
Val Vista Lakes Events

11-15 Years
Southwest Airlines
Town of Gilbert
United Food Bank
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

6-10 Years
Arizona Business Bank
Bound Tree Medical, LLC
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management - James Stoes
Simply Ravishing The Salon
Sunrise of Gilbert
Valley of the Sun United Way
Wells Fargo Bank

1-5 Years
Always Professional In Moving Inc.
Autopro Collision Center Inc.
Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
Boy Scouts of America - Grand Canyon Council
Clearly Clean Carpet
Custom Signs & Graphics
Desert Hills High School
EZ Spaces
Five Star Carpet Cleaning & Restoration
Get Well Be Well, LLC
Gilbert Christian Schools
Iced for Life LLC
IPA/America's Business Benefit Association
Kelly Insurance Group PLLC
LRG Business Consulting
Mr. Wizard Pool Service and Repair, LLC
One Accord Physical Therapy Gilbert
Red Mountain Air Conditioning
Showtime Realty Professionals, LLC
Southwest Blinds & Shutters
The Beauty Lounge
The Painters Contracting, LLC.
Truly Nolen of America, Inc.
Truly Nolen of America, Inc.
Walt's Jewelers
Window Genie
Your Request Promotional Advertising
Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar GILBERT LEADERSHIP PROGRAM ANNOUNCES MEMBERS OF CLASS XXV - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Chamber, Alumni Celebrate 25th Year of Leadership Development Program

GILBERT – Gilbert Leadership, a program of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, has named 27 members to this year’s class as the program continues to raise awareness of community concerns by helping leaders identify opportunities to serve the Town of Gilbert.

Gilbert Leadership is a ten-month development program that brings class members together one day each month to focus on specific issues and to provide an insider’s look at healthcare and social services, community culture, town history, local education and government, economic development, and public safety. Participants are tasked with selecting, organizing and raising funds for a class project that will be of benefit and significant contribution to the Town of Gilbert and its residents.

The following individuals have been chosen for Gilbert Leadership Class XXV:
Heather Adams, Dignity Health
Deb Carr, Volunteer
Eric Castillo-Wilson, Keller Williams Realty East Valley
Milissa Chanice, Dignity Health
Kim Corder, Sun Valley Community Church
Damien DeMarco, Centurylink
Rob Duggan, Town of Gilbert
Emily Evans, Aflac
Barb Farmer, Dignity Health
Bernard Francisco, Big Frog Custom T-shirts and More
Karen Hassan, SRP
Rod Heibult, Prudential Insurance Company of America
Kellie Henzel, TruWest Credit Union
Leah Hubbard Rhineheimer, Town of Gilbert
Ben Kalkman, Rocketmedia
Shelly Lanham, Banner Health
Irene Mahoney-Paige, Gilbert Public Schools
Darren McCollem, Banner Health
Valerie Merrill, Legacy Traditional School
Marie Nowicki, Remax Infinity
Busola Obayomi, Nationwide Insurance
Eric Pedersen, Carollo Engineers
JW Rayhons, Rayhons Financial Solutions
Pete Smith, Retired
Andrea Tanner, SRP
John Webster, Ready Logistics
Kimberley Wimberley, Kimberely Wimberley Real Estate
Alice Woodard, Printwerx

“Gilbert is a great community to work, live, and play in, and the Gilbert Leadership Program has a lot to do with that,” said Candy Body, president of Gilbert Leadership’s Board of Directors. “Class members learn what leadership should look like in a variety of environments and team building activities and will be provided with many opportunities to tour organizations and serve in the community.”

Gilbert Leadership is a program of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce. For more information about Gilbert Leadership, contact Amanda Bayer at (480) 941-6324 or visit
The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit, membership-based organization with more than 670 members ranging from home-based businesses to large corporations and representing more than 52,000 employees. The Chamber proactively serves as a business advocate to strengthen the business climate in Gilbert. To learn more about or join the Chamber, please contact (480) 892-0056 or visit August 2016 Membership Anniversaries - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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August 2016 Membership Anniversaries

We are thrilled to recognize the following members for their continued support of the Gilbert Chamber.  Please look for the 2016-17 window decal at these businesses and be sure to thank them for their support in fostering a healthy and sustainable business climate here in Gilbert.

August 2016

25+ Years
Gilbert Dental Center
Edward Jones - Bret Seeley

21-24 Years
Spectrac Suspension Centers, Inc.

11-15 Years
Buffalo Wild Wings
California Wire Cloth, Inc.
Integrity Fleet Service, LLC

6-10 Years
Batteries Plus
Desert Schools Federal Credit Union
Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
Gilbert Road Self Storage
Lil' Einstein's
Nedda Tax Accountant, Inc.
Orbital ATK
Unicon, INC.
Wydebeam Broadband a Phoenix Internet Company

1-5 Years 
20 Volume Salon and Spa
365 Mechanical, LLC
Ace of Shades Suncreens and Canopies LLC
Alianza Designs
Carlife Gilbert
Coach Works Automotive & Auto Body
DFA Solutions
DH & B Electric, LLC
Dignity Health Foundation - East Valley
Dr. Robert J. Brown D.D.S.
Edward Jones Investments - Bill Monaccio
Grace Style and Bridal
Happy Joes Pizza
Heritage Financial Strategies
Higher Grounds Roastery & Cafe
Hilton Phoenix/Mesa Hotel
Hired Gun Solutions
Ideal Plumbing
Junky Trunk Boutique
Kaleidoscope Focus, LLC
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Lofgreen's Office Products
Low Budget Movers
Maricopa County
Mezona Orthopaedic - Rome Towers
MomentWave, LLC dba TapSnap 1173
Papa Murphy's
Park Holdings LLC
Power Networks, LLC.
Pure Barre
R and S Foam Roofing, LLC
SanTan Volkswagen
Savanna House Assisted Living & Memory Care
Significant Cleaning Service
Smaller Scholars Montessori Academy
Southeast Valley Regional Association of Realtors
SpeedPro Imaging Mesa-Gilbert
The Egg I Am
The Harding Firm
The Sisterhood of Happiness
Vintage Rental Homes
Willow Massage + Spa Transaction Privilege Tax - Upcoming Changes - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Transaction Privilege Tax - Upcoming Changes

The Arizona Department of Revenue is implementing changes to Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT) licensing and reporting, as required by law.  These changes affect all Arizona-based businesses as well as those located outside of Arizona that sell to Arizona customers.

These changes will take effect with the June tax return that taxpayers file in July.

As a partner with keen interest in the Department’s successful implementation of these TPT program changes, we appreciate your help in getting word out about what is planned and encouraging businesses you are affiliated with to file TPT returns online at
One of the key changes to take effect beginning July 1, 2016 is that all businesses, regardless of geographic location, will be required to use location-based reporting when submitting TPT returns.  All businesses licensed with the Department will receive a location code(s) identifying each physical location where the business operates.  Location codes will be automatically populated by correct jurisdiction for taxpayers who file electronically, or taxpayers will need to enter the codes correctly on the city detail page using the new TPT forms (TPT-2 and TPT-EZ).

The Department strongly encourages all taxpayers to file online for easier filing and faster processing. Businesses with more than one physical location in Arizona are now required by law to file their TPT returns electronically via  Please know the Department has set a goal to eventually eliminate all paper TPT transactions, and we look forward to working with partners like you to educate taxpayers about the benefits of filing online and encourage compliance.

You may be asked questions or receive requests for assistance from taxpayers about the upcoming changes.  Questions can be directed to the Department at 1-844-698-9176 or they can email

If you would like to have a Department representative present to your organization about these changes, please contact Tom Johnson at


David Briant
Director 2016 LEGISLATIVE SESSION REPORT CARD - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Each year, the East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance (EVCCA) produces a report on the legislative session and lists bills that will have the most significance to East Valley businesses. It reports how each East Valley legislator voted on legislation relevant to the EVCCA.

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My Reflection On Two Decades of Service at the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce

By Kathy Tilque, President/CEO

As I reflect on the past 20 years as president and CEO of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce the first word that comes to mind is “growth”.  When I joined the staff of the Gilbert Chamber in 1991, our chamber was small with only 250 businesses.  Our town was small, too, with a population of just 27,000. I remember there being no store within the town where I could buy a pair of shoes!

Our heritage district had only a handful of businesses and many of those businesses were struggling. Other than US 60 from Gilbert Road, there wasn’t a simple way to access our community by freeway. Likewise, there weren’t any hospitals, hotels, and San Tan Village was just a figment of the imagination.  

What we did have was an incredible vision for our town’s potential and the determination to work together to create a beautiful, thriving community.  The Chamber played a significant role in ensuring a pro-business environment while maintaining high standards as witnessed today. It was hard work as we were maneuvering through unchartered waters while working to overcome a reputation of being rural community and having very little money to invest to purchase land or infrastructure.

Our town and Chamber leaders understood the housing marketing would drive businesses into our community. We also understood the importance of a slow and strategic plan for future growth in the midst of a housing boom. Just as we do today, the Chamber and Town worked together and advocated for the retention of valuable employment land rather than surrendering this important land for the latest trend in housing.  This was not an easy task and we are proud of preserving properties that now house significant employers like Banner Gateway and Banner MD Anderson.  We continue today in this effort as we plan for long-term sustainability as we near build-out.

One of the most significant factors that poised our town for success was our strong schools. Without this important asset, we may be a much different community today. We continue to have some of the best schools in the State of Arizona – a significant factor in our housing market and economic climate.  Gilbert Public schools was the number one reason residents moved to our community.  Higley Unified School District was just a one school/administration building back in those days and has quickly risen to the top of the charts for academic achievement to join both Gilbert and Chandler school districts.

The Chamber grew with the Town. Our businesses, both large and small, stepped up to engage in the community.  Whether it was helping with community planning, economic planning, or community services, Chamber members have been there.  I've had the privilege of serving as president and CEO but I have not served alone. There have been countless business leaders who have made great contributions to this community. 

What I miss most about the early days is the ability to just roll up our sleeves, shake hands and get it done.  In today's society, we now have to make sure we have extra insurance coverages; we have to sign contracts and dot all of our "i's" before we begin.  Nonetheless, I am happy to say the spirit of working together for one simple cause - a great Gilbert - is alive and well. I am honored to continue to serve a community for which my children and grandchildren can call home. And I know, when I reflect on the past in another 20 years, I will feel this same sense of pride and accomplishment for a town and community which I hold close to my heart.

The Chamber of Commerce will honor Kathy Tilque and her 20 years of service as CEO at an Open House on Wednesday, July 13 from 4:00 pm to 6:30 p.m. at the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, 119 N. Gilbert Road, Ste. 101, Gilbert, AZ  85234.  Video messages, photos, and cards can be sent to the attention of Sarah Watts by mail or e-mail to
Federal Overreach and Onerous Regulations Topped Discussion with Congressman Matt Salmon - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Federal Overreach and Onerous Regulations Topped Discussion with Congressman Matt Salmon

Federal Overreach and Onerous Regulations Topped Discussion with Congressman Matt Salmon

Members of the Gilbert Chamber met with Congressman Matt Salmon last week as part of its Good Government Series sponsored by SRP.  As Congressman Salmon winds down his final term as our representative in D.C., he shared his unique perspective on top issues impacting our businesses here in Gilbert.

According to Salmon, Congress needs to take back their Article 1 authority which ensures any rulemaking by departments must come back through Congress for their approval.  He noted the Raines Act will accomplish that and he is pushing Congress to pass more detailed bills which does not leave interpretation up to the departments.  A great case in point is the absurd new Federal Overtime Rules passed by the Department of Labor.  Other examples are EPA and Clean Air Act to name a few. 

Add onerous regulations to an outdated taxation system, we are our own worst enemy at pushing U.S. businesses out of the country.  Salmon was very clear that oppressive taxation and regulation policies – not trade agreements – are sending jobs overseas.  He is very supportive of the TPA (Pacific) and the TTIP (Europe) efforts which are trade agreements that actually help small businesses grow their business in a global economy.  TPA alone represents the US doing business with 40% of the world’s GDP.  Congress provides the President authority to negotiate trade agreements on behalf of the U.S. but that authority comes with very lengthy and detailed qualifiers from Congress. 

Other priorities Salmon and Chamber members discussed were long-term entitlement programs needing to be addressed now – such as social security; the threat of cybersecurity on our businesses and power grids; along with the importance of providing a level playing field for global competition through the reauthorization of the Export/Import Bank.

Congressman Salmon was thanked for his tireless efforts to support our business community, his dedication to reaching across the aisle to work together to find solutions and meaningful accomplishments during his terms in Congress. Professionals Needed for 1/2 Day Career Mentorship of Local Students - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Professionals Needed for 1/2 Day Career Mentorship of Local Students

Imagine West Charter School’s 8th graders are researching career fields. As part of the experience, they are required to spend a ½ day with someone in their profession of interest. If you would be willing to allow a student to shadow you and learn more about your profession, please contact Jane DeBatty by e-mail at Students are required to make the official ‘ask’ so Jane will collect the contact information of all interested professionals and the student will reach out to the professional of interest to make arrangements.

The program outline is below:

• 8th graders research careers they may be interested in for their future
• They then find a company /professional that they are interested in “shadowing” for ½ of a school day
• They will be transported to and from this shadow by a parent
• Finally, students will create a presentation about their experience to be shared at our Career Fair on May, 20.

All professionals are welcome, with special interest in the following fields:
• Armed Forces
• Child Daycare
• Computer programmer
• DJ
• Doctor  ( ER, Gastro, Heart , Pediatric , General)
• Engineer (mechanical , electrical)
• Firefighter
• Lawyer
• Mayor
• Nurse
• Paramedic
• Police Officer
• Politician
• Small Business owner
• Sports trainer
• Veterinarian
• Zoologist Partners In Progress Celebrates Completion of Shadowing & Mentorship Program for High School Student - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Partners In Progress Celebrates Completion of Shadowing & Mentorship Program for High School Student

Partners In Progress Celebrates Completion of Shadowing & Mentorship Program for High School Students

The Chamber’s Partners In Progress initiative celebrated last week the first high school graduates of the Career Shadowing & Mentorship program. The program has been in place in partnership with ASU and college-level participants and the success of the program prompted a partnership with local high schools.

Six students and six mentors were presented with certificates of completion for their dedication to the experience. The program matches students to professionals within their areas of interest for a flexible, 20-hour shadowing experience. Shadowing offers the student an inside look at an industry without the hands-on requirements and formality of an internship or apprenticeship. The mentor and student work together to determine the hours and opportunities for shadowing so as to best accommodate the schedules of both partners. The Career Shadowing & Mentorship program will welcome a new round of students during the summer months. With 14 student applicants, we are seeking business professionals who are willing to serve. For more information, contact

Student Brenna Hall, Mentor Gina Berraras, and program Chairman JW Rayhons
Gilbert Chamber Partners with Office Depot/Office Max to Offer Member Savinbs - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Gilbert Chamber Partners with Office Depot/Office Max to Offer Member Savinbs

The Gilbert Chamber is pleased to announce a new partnership with the National Chamber Program and Office Depot/OfficeMax to deliver you steep discounts on the office supplies and day-to-day shopping most crucial to your organization’s needs
I would like to introduce you to Imran Chaudrey, our local Territory Development Manager with Office Depot. Through Office Depot’s partnership with the Chamber, Imran is our representative who will help our members save up to 70 percent on some of the office supplies you use most.

On average, companies save 15% to 25% per year with the Chamber’s Office Depot program.  Plus, Imran will do a price analysis to demonstrate your organization’s specific savings potential.
The Chamber’s Office Depot program treats you like a Fortune 500 company and offers deep discounts on everyday items. In addition to online ordering and next-day delivery, Chamber member companies and their employees get in-store savings, too, including discount copy and print pricing and much more.

Start Saving Now Prosperity Districts - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Prosperity Districts

The East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance was part of a stakeholder meeting at the Capitol this week to discuss the concept of “Prosperity Districts”. The idea is to create a designated area governed by market forces and rule of law but free from an unspecified number of local, state, and federal regulations. The strike-all amendment to HB 2647 containing the concept language is not supposed to move forward this year but lays the groundwork for an interesting discussion over the interim.

Transportation Revenue Study Committee Moves Forward
While the Governor’s Office is requesting to legislative leaders that no bill be sent to the Governor’s Desk until the budget is signed, the Transportation Revenue Study Committee moved through the Republican and Democrat Caucuses last week. The bill, sponsored by Senator Bob Worsley (R- Mesa), establishes a surface transportation task force – a 2015 priority of the EVCCA. Chamber Members Discuss State Issues with District 17 Legislators - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Chamber Members Discuss State Issues with District 17 Legislators

A special thank you to Representatives JD Mesnard and Jeff Weninger for spending Friday morning with members of the Gilbert Chamber to talk about important State issues being addressed as the session begins to wind down.

Unfortunately, it looks like the budget won’t be settled until mid-April.  Representatives discussed the difficulty in addressing one-time expenditures without setting up an expectation of ongoing funding at that same level.  We were happy to hear their support for both Prop 123 (education funding) and Prop 124 (Public Safety Retirement Reforms) in the upcoming election.

Priorities for one-time funding were in line with the Chamber’s top issues – HURF, university funding and K-12.  We appreciated their support for the JTED funding earlier in the session to address career and technical training programs.

The Chamber worked to support the Town’s bill addressing secondary property tax which would allow municipalities to pay down bonds faster and save taxpayers millions of dollars.  Both representatives were supportive and thanked.

This SRP Good Government series brings elected officials to meet with members and discuss issues impacting their businesses as well as long-term local, state, and federal legislation. EVCCA Update: March 25, 2016 - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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EVCCA Update: March 25, 2016

This week the top story in Arizona was the presidential primary election on Tuesday.

Though Trump and Clinton were the winners of the day, the main topic of discussion was the extremely high voter turnout and reduced polling locations which resulted in outrageous lines.  Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell has taken responsibility for the mess. “We certainly made bad decisions, and having only 60 polling places, didn’t anticipate there would be that many people going to the polling places. We were obviously wrong — that’s my fault. So we’ll certainly look at that for future elections.”  Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has asked the US Department of Justice to conduct an investigation.

At the Legislature, just the Appropriations Committees have had meetings this week.  Bill activity is winding down in preparation for budget negotiations to begin.  Out of the 1,219 bills introduced, 88 have passed out of the Legislature and 73 have been signed in to law by Governor Ducey.  There have been no vetoes yet.

Minimum Wage Ballot Measure Proposed
LUCHA, an activist group that works for employment laws, immigration, and elections, has shared that they will be pushing a ballot measure to increase Arizona’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.   The effort faces an uphill battle.  In addition to starting late, they will have to collect 150,642 confirmed signatures before July 7th in order to make the ballot.  To accommodate potentially bad signatures, most campaigns aim to collect well over 200,000. 

Business organizations are exploring opportunities to incrementally increase minimum wage over the next few years so as to not have such an onerous  impact on businesses.  More to come on this effort. EVCCA: March 2016 Legislative Update - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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EVCCA: March 2016 Legislative Update

March 2016 Update

Campaign Finance Reforms Move Forward
Secretary of State Michele Reagan introduced a SB 1516 that makes a number of campaign finance
reforms. Included in the bill is an East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance priority from 2015. The
Alliance has pushed for Prop 105 disclosure for several years. The bill includes the requirement that the
following be placed on all advertisements and publicity pamphlets related to statewide statutory ballot
measures: Pursuant to Proposition 105 (1998), this measure cannot be changed in the future if approved
on the ballot except by a three-fourths vote of the Legislature and if the change furthers the purpose of
the original ballot measure or except by referring the change to the ballot. The bill passed out of the
House Elections Committee and is headed to the floor.

Transportation Funding Task Force
Another 2015 Alliance priority continues moving in the legislative process this year. Due to increases in
vehicle fuel efficiency, the amount of revenue generated by Arizona’s gas taxes has been stagnant to
declining in recent years. The Alliance believes the issue needs special attention and priority
consideration. State Senator Bob Worsley (R-Mesa) introduced SB 1490 which creates a task force of
finance and transportation experts to study the issue in the fall. The bill moved out of the Senate and is
moving through the House of Representatives.

Unemployment Insurance Appeals Reforms Pass Committee
A 2016 Alliance priority passed out of the Senate Commerce and Workforce Committee on Monday. HB
includes a provision that eliminates the process for an Unemployment Insurance Board of Appeals
decision on review before a party may apply for judicial review. The bill heads to the House floor. EVCCA: Week 5 of 2016 Legislative Update - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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EVCCA: Week 5 of 2016 Legislative Update

This week in Arizona was the final opportunity to hear bills in issue committees in their chamber of origin. The Appropriations Committees are given an extra week.   Agendas and floor calendars have been very long and filled with heated debate.  So far, out of the 1,219 bills introduced, four have been passed and signed into law by Governor Ducey.   The latest bills to receive Governor Ducey’s approval are the modifications to the state’s Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) and funding for Joint Technical Education Districts (JTEDs).

Governor Ducey Signs Career and Technical Education Funding Bill
The effort to restore $29 million dollars in state funding for JTEDs stalled for a few days while the House negotiated an insubstantial language change to ensure they receive credit for the bill.   As the final version heading to Governor Ducey’s desk for signature is a senate bill, SB1525 by Senator Don Shooter (R-Yuma), the House added language saying that restoring JTEDs was “an important priority” for the House and added the names of the 56 Representatives who signed on to their version.  This version received a vote of approval from the Senate on Wednesday and was promptly signed by Governor Ducey.  President Biggs indicated that he doesn’t mind the changes.  “This bill we’ve always considered too important to be messing around with,” said Biggs.  House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham commented,  “It was important to the House members that their input on the bill and support of JTEDs be recognized.  House attorneys determined that this was a legal and effective way to accomplish that goal.”

Arizona Saw a 25% Reduction in Solar Jobs
According to a report from a recent census from the Solar Foundation, solar jobs have stagnated in Arizona.   As of November 2015 there were roughly 7,000 solar industry workers in the state, about 25 percent lower than at the same time in 2014.  The report cited SRP’s demand charge as the reason for the “massive underperformance”.  “With uncertainty casting a shadow over Arizona’s smaller-scale residential and non-residential markets, and many of the state’s utilities having largely achieved their goals for solar deployment under the state’s renewable energy standard, capacity installation is expected to slow even further in 2016,” the report argued.

Professional Licensure Bill Passes Committee
In his January State of the State Address, Governor Ducey shared that one of his key priorities will be reducing the number of professions that need state licensing.  As a result, HB2613 (regulatory boards; licensing; revisions) was introduced by Representative Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert).  The bill proposes to eliminate licensing for nine professions including geologists, assayers, driving school instructors, landscape architects, yoga instructors and fruit packers.  “Simply stated, licensing should be the last option, not the first. We should be willing to periodically review the status quo and see if current regulations reach the proper balance of employment opportunity and government oversight. Reducing regulations means more money for hardworking Arizonans,” said Ducey policy advisory Rene Guillen.

The bill received its first hearing on Wednesday and faced major opposition with hundreds of individuals signed in to testify.  While many cited public health and safety, several professions would face license reciprocity issues should they want to work in other states.   Representative Petersen argued that protections remain in place to ensure public safety is maintained. “This is not like it’s going from level 10 regulation to level zero regulation. We’re dialing it down. There’s laws on the books,” said Petersen.   Guillen emphasized that the bill is a work in progress and many of the issues discussed will be addressed  throughout the legislative process.

Bill Introduced to Extend Contact Lens Prescription Length
Online contact lens retailer 1800 Contacts is pushing a measure to extend the life of a contact lens to two years.  Current statute dictates a prescription is viable for one year or less.  Dr. Annette Hanian from the Arizona Optometry Association has opposed the measure.  “They have inherent to them things that can affect the corneal integrity, the surface of the eye, the ocular surface that patients aren’t necessarily aware of.  We need to be able to diagnose and intervene at an appropriate time so they don’t become more serious complications,” said Hanian.  The bill’s sponsor, Representative Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek) commented that it is a commerce issue, not a health issue. “This is the only type of statutory provision that dictates by the government how you prescribe a medical device. The government shouldn’t be in the business of mandating the doctor-patient relationship,” said Carter.  After heated debate from both sides, HB2523 (contact lens; prescriptions)  failed with 2 ayes and 6 nays in its first hearing in the Commerce Committee on Wednesday. Gilbert Chamber Supports Higher Education Funding and Reduction of In-State Student Tuition - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Gilbert Chamber Supports Higher Education Funding and Reduction of In-State Student Tuition

Gilbert Chamber Supports Higher Education Funding and Reduction of In-State Student Tuition

Members of the Gilbert Chamber’s Board of Directors spent the last year and a half meeting with representatives from the Arizona Board of Regents, ASU, and our District 12 legislators to better understand the intricacies of funding and expense management. 
We thank these education and government representatives for taking the time as we walked through this very important exercise.  We felt it was important that we become better educated on items prior to providing any broad position statements on funding proposals.   At the conclusion of this research, the Gilbert Chamber sent a letter outlining support for increased funding for higher education with a commitment to closing the gap for in-state tuition; getting closer to providing education as free as possible as outlined in the Constitution.  A copy of that letter can be found by clicking here…. Gilbert Chambers Supports Arizona’s Lawsuit against the EPA - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Gilbert Chambers Supports Arizona’s Lawsuit against the EPA

Gilbert Chambers Supports Arizona’s Lawsuit against the EPA

The Gilbert Chamber joined chambers across the nation in signing onto the amicus brief against the EPA Clean Power Plan.  This brief outlines that the Clean Power Plan will harm state and local economies and it intrudes on states’ authority to oversee their electricity systems.  For more information about the brief click here.

We received good news this past week when the US Supreme Court announced a stay on the new Clean Power Plan rule on carbon emissions while litigation is pending. Twenty-six states, including Arizona, filed suit last year to halt the plan. Under the stay, the EPA will no longer enforce the September 2016 deadline to submit a plan for reducing emissions

Attorney General Mark Brnovich called the stay a huge victory.  “The Clean Power Plan is an abuse of power, it’s regulation without representation,” said Brnovich.   Corporation Commission Chairman Doug Little echoed his sentiments.   “Implementation of this rule would have cost Arizonans billions of dollars and would have wreaked havoc on rural communities that rely on clean-coal power generation. Arizona ratepayers would have seen electric rates skyrocket had this rule gone into effect,” said Little. State JTED dollars a political football at the Capitol - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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State JTED dollars a political football at the Capitol

State JTED dollars a political football at the Capitol
Let’s call a timeout and get back in formation with both sides of the aisle working together!

After several starts and stops this past week from the Governor’s office to the Senate and House offices, Arizona’s ability to attract and retain expanding businesses is in jeopardy.  After receiving bi-partisan support (a thing of beauty in itself), business and education support, along with State leadership support it is still not on the Governor’s desk for signature, which does leave some of us scratching our heads.

JTED funding is used for technical training.  Not every student is going to go to college, not every job needs a college degree but many do need specialized technical training.  Just this past week, the Gilbert Chamber met with some manufacturing businesses looking to add 200-500 employees within the next few years between the various companies.  Some of those jobs will require a high-level college degree and experience.  However, a higher percentage will require some sort of technical skill that would come from training learned through schools, jobs, or specific military service.  And those businesses are concerned; they are having a hard time finding people with the basic skills and abilities to adjust to the work culture.

Here at the Chamber we are working with industry, education and students in a grassroots fashion to slowly turn that tide – businesses, teachers and students at the same time through our Partners In Progress Workforce programs.  We will continue to gather information from businesses, work with the education community to integrate workplace skills into the curriculum, and we can provide opportunities for businesses and students to learn from each other in meaningful ways.  But know that while we do this there has to be funding available for technical training in key industry sectors if we are going to grow our economy and grow jobs for our communities.

With every bill introduced in the legislature, there is always a need for a thorough vetting and in-depth look at any unintended consequences; we spend a lot of time doing just that ourselves at the Gilbert Chamber and the EVCCA as we comb through hundreds of bills each week.  We support getting it right but we are also asking politicians to move the egos and anticipated political accolades to the sideline and move JTED funding front and center for approval.

Kathy Tilque is the President/CEO of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce. EVCCA: Week 4 of 2016 Legislative Session Update - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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EVCCA: Week 4 of 2016 Legislative Session Update

Week 4 of 2016 Legislative Session Update

The EVCCA is busy at the Capitol protecting your business interests.  In the last four weeks, the legislature has introduced 1,324 bills.  Of those 1,324 bills, the EVCCA identified 593 bills that may have an impact (positive or negative) on the business community as a whole or in some cases your bottom line.  After careful review, that number was whittled down to 83 active bills that require immediate action from our lobbyists at legislative hearings.  We’ll keep you posted on the outcome of those bills as as many bills could die in the house of origin this next week. 

In other news, here is a few of the issues we are involved with, along with the JTED funding

Governor Proposes Economic Opportunity Office
Representative Karen Fann introduced HB 2666 this week that creates the Governor’s Economic Opportunity Office (GEOO). The bill brings data collection and marketing functions closer to the Governor and his staff. The Office is designed to provide the business-minded governor with accurate market data - the basis on which to make strategic, market-driven economic development decisions. Fann’s legislation consolidates the promotion functions of the ACA, Arizona Office of Tourism, Arizona-Mexico Commission and the Arizona Zanjeros. The bill also creates a statewide Industrial Development Authority. Economic development grants will continue under the existing ACA. However, other legislation introduced only reauthorizes the ACA for two years.

Chambers Express Caution Regarding UI Reforms
In testimony before the House Commerce Committee last week, the East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance expressed concern about language within HB 2113 increasing taxes on businesses. The bill adds time frames and further specificity to the reviews by the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), Unemployment Compensation (UI) Appeals Board decisions. It attempts to expedite UI appeals. However, the language in the bill jeopardizes the FUTA tax credit all Arizona employers enjoy on the first $7000 of wages per employee. The East Valley chambers will continue to work with lawmakers to improve the bill. Chamber Board Supports Heritage District Businesses - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Chamber Board Supports Heritage District Businesses

The Gilbert Chamber’s Board of Directors recently approved support for the Heritage District Businesses recommendations related to parking, signage, circulation, and make-up of the Redevelopment Commission.  Of immediate attention are the construction and funding of a new parking structure and accommodating on-street parking as new projects come on board in the Heritage District.

The Chamber led a seven week in-depth discussion of consultant’s recommendations for future development within the Heritage District that included some very hefty fees for shared parking.  Feedback from Heritage District businesses was presented to the Redevelopment Commission and forwarded to the Town Council.  Click here to see the final recommendations the Chamber supported.

View Recommendation Document Regulations continue to plague Gilbert Exporting Businesses - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Regulations continue to plague Gilbert Exporting Businesses

Last week’s Partners In Progress roundtable meeting with export businesses revealed that onerous regulations are the biggest challenge for expansion in foreign markets.  Everything from costly licenses and paperwork to unpredictable regulations in foreign countries continue to cause these small businesses from expanding production and job creation.

Another area of concern is the time it takes to individually prepare paperwork for small to large orders for each separate country.  Many businesses struggle between paying a consultant, hiring a full-time staff member or do it themselves which is all time-consuming and costly.

The Chamber will explore opportunities to partner with other organizations to provide a “one-stop” resource for businesses struggling through the maze of exporting to various countries.  We’ve also partnered with the U.S. Chamber to support Trade Agreements with foreign countries.  Most probably don’t realize that once a trade agreement is in place it allows for a smoother process for U.S. companies to do business in another country.  More to come on this important business topic. Mentors Needed for ASU Job Shadowing Program - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Mentors Needed for ASU Job Shadowing Program

The Gilbert Chamber and Arizona State University have partnered to match students with mentors within their fields of study. We are seeking professionals who would be willing to allow a student to shadow for a total of 20 hours over the spring semester, beginning in March.

The purpose of this program is to allow students to understand how their particular skills and studies can be utilized in the real world.  The program is flexible and mentors are encouraged to introduce and facilitate job shadowing experiences of a few hours with other relevant positions within their businesses. Likewise, mentors are encouraged to invite student to meetings/events that would be of benefit. Note: This is not an internship and students should not be given assignments or job duties.

We have several students seeking a mentor this semester. Below is a list of interests on behalf of the applicants.

Aerospace: design or simulation
Aviation: airport management
Aviation: general
Aviation: unmanned piloting
Aviation: unmanned sensor operator
Biology research
Business Consulting
CSN - Admin or Security
Engineering: automotive design
Engineering: Design
Engineering: Electrical
Engineering: environmental
Engineering: Mechanical
Engineering: product development
Engineering: Software
Game Design
Health: education
Health: general
Law: general
Market Research
Medical: general
Medical: laboratory tech
Medical: physician assistant
Medical: technology
Organizational psychology
Waste Management
Water Management
Web Design

To learn more, contact Sarah Watts by e-mail to Advocacy: Our Current Efforts - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Advocacy: Our Current Efforts

The Chamber's staff, Board of Directors, and Public Policy Committee work to identify, raise awareness of, and take positions on the issues affecting our business community. Here's an update on our current advocacy efforts...

On a state level – we are working on an unemployment insurance bill and/or policy change so businesses can ensure that if an employee become incarcerated, is working elsewhere, etc. does not continue to receive paid benefits that count against the company’s experience rating.  Early stages but we will keep you posted.

On the town level – Downzoning continues to be the hot topic – we are supporting the B Green Senior living project at Guadalupe and Recker area; the Board will take a final position on the Gateway Pointe Industrial downzoning (more to come) this week.

I participated in the groundbreaking for BARNONE – the Joe Johnston project that is a craftsman makers market.  Very cool idea – checkout that website for more information.  Our friends Brian and Megan Ruffentine will be opening Garage-East a wine bar there; Brian will be retiring from the fire department. Congressman Salmon to Assist Chambers/Small Businesses Defeat Proposed Federal Overtime Regulations - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Congressman Salmon to Assist Chambers/Small Businesses Defeat Proposed Federal Overtime Regulations

CEO’s of the EVCCA  (East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance), armed with feedback from East Valley businesses and help from the US Chamber of Commerce, met with Congressman Matt Salmon and his staff last week to talk about the dire consequences of this new policy that could become effective this summer.

Three major concerns arose – 1) The ability of a Federal agency department to make such drastic changes to an employment policy with no process involving legislative action or even the Congressional Labor Committee is unhealthy for our business community and nation;  2)  Raising the minimum wage to qualify for exempt status from $23,660 to $50,440 is such a huge jump that is not justifiable and will put small businesses in a situation that could result in reduction of jobs and production; and 3) this action takes the country in the wrong direction, away from the very core of what the new workforce is expecting – flexibility; instead it takes us back to the industrial age of punching clocks. 

Congressman Salmon will assist us in preparing a letter, rallying other AZ delegates, and potentially call for a Labor Committee hearing here in the East Valley.  If that doesn’t work out  we may put together a delegation to go back to DC to help fight this unjust change.  More information to follow.

More than 180 businesses throughout the East Valley took time to return a lengthy survey outlining how the Department of Labor’s attempt to change the policy of Federal overtime regulations.  That’s not a bad number considering they had less than one week to reply right before the Christmas holiday.  These businesses reiterated the Obama Administration's proposed overtime regulation, raising the salary threshold dramatically, thereby making millions more employees eligible for overtime compensation (e.g. reducing the number of employees who can be exempt)  impacts all businesses – large and small! 

By raising the salary threshold for executive, administrative, and professional employees from the current annual level of $23,660 to $50,440 employers will be forced to decide whether to reclassify millions of employees to non-exempt status or increase their salaries to keep them exempt. Employees who are reclassified will be required to track their hours and "punch a clock."  They will be paid only for hours they actually work, and may not actually earn overtime as many employers will limit their work hours to fewer than 40 in a week.
Reclassifying employees will likely lead to other negative effects for employees such as losing flexibility in their work hours, losing benefits, and losing professional opportunities.  With your help, we can build the case that this proposed rule will not boost employees' income, but instead will force employers to reduce employees' flexibility, benefits, and growth opportunities. Congress Approves a Five-Year Highway and Mass Transit Bill - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
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Congress Approves a Five-Year Highway and Mass Transit Bill

Via the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Political Affairs & Federation Relations...

Dear Kathy,

Last week, following a concerted effort by the Chamber, our members, and our allies, Congress approved a five-year highway and mass transit bill that will increase infrastructure funding, reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, implement an important permit streamlining provision, and make some helpful financial services reforms.

The president signed that bill into law on Friday, marking a major victory for the business community and the American economy.

Funding. The bill provides $305 billion over five years for highways and mass transit, giving states the certainty they need to undertake long-term projects and to begin to address the backlog of much-needed transportation and transit work.

Ex-Im Bank. Even though the Ex-Im Bank enjoys overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, its revival was far from a sure thing following the expiration of its charter in June. This reauthorization could not come soon enough as American jobs were already being lost or moved overseas due to lack of access to Ex-Im financing.

Permit Streamlining. The permit streamlining provisions in the highway bill are groundbreaking and highly significant. They will improve and speed up the review and approval of permitting for complex development projects, ensuring that projects are not unnecessarily delayed or canceled because of ineffective and uncoordinated reviews by federal agencies.

Financial Services Reform. The highway bill also contains a number of provisions that will provide some targeted regulatory relief for smaller financial institutions and help small and growing businesses obtain capital. Specifically, the measures will reduce corporate reporting costs for smaller companies; help emerging growth companies access financing; and amend Dodd-Frank in a number of ways to reduce regulatory burdens.
Thank you for all that you did to make these accomplishments possible. The efforts of you and your members demonstrate how the business community can truly make a difference in the passage of common sense policies that drive growth and job creation.

We look forward to continuing to work together to combat the many hurdles the business community still faces and push for policies that allow our businesses and communities to thrive.


Rob Engstrom
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Committee Applications Now Available - Gilbert Chamber of Commerce