Leaders from the business community across Arizona convened for a press conference in the rose garden of The Capitol on Wednesday. The subject of the press conference was the proposed 20 percent raise to teacher salaries by school year 2020. Executives from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Leadership and Southern Arizona Leadership Council took the podium to voice support of the raise, proposed by Governor Doug Ducey last week.
“This proposal for a 20 percent raise is made possible by a growing economy. We have the resources to get this deal done,” said Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Hamer stressed that as long as the business community continues to do its part, creating jobs, bringing more people to the state and generating revenue, a 20 percent raise is not just feasible but also responsible.
All of the speakers echoed Hamer on this point, recognizing Arizona’s fast and sustainable economic growth as the reason this plan is possible.
The leaders agree a thriving education system is a vital means to support existing businesses and attract new business to the state. Prospective businesses heavily weight the education system and resulting talent pipeline a state has to offer when choosing where to locate.
Arizona has created 150,000 new jobs since 2015, and with that growth rate expected to hold steady if not increase over the next several years, the demand for educated, workforce-ready individuals will only become more critical.
“Our state’s future workforce truly depends on high quality educators and a robust, fully funded education system, “ said Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.
While the proposal is ambitious, the group urged that this is the right thing to do by Arizona’s teachers, who are on the front line, ensuring the success of our future workforce and the prosperity of our state.
“The business community respects teachers’ work, we value their work and we’re united to make sure that we get 20 percent more pay into their pockets by 2020, including about 10 percent this upcoming year,” Hamer said.