Arizona business community to kick-off 2024 at Legislative Forecast Luncheon

The Arizona business community will gather at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix on Friday for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s annual Legislative Forecast Luncheon, marking the unofficial start of the legislative session. 

This year’s event will feature a conversation with Gov. Katie Hobbs, who is preparing to deliver her second State of the State address next week, where she’ll lay out her legislative priorities for the session ahead. 

“Everyone looks forward to this event every January,” Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Danny Seiden said. “It’s the start of a new year and a new legislative session, and this is a great opportunity to get a sneak preview of what’s ahead. We’re excited to welcome Gov. Hobbs. I’m looking forward to visiting with her and hearing about her priorities for the year and about those areas where her office and job creators can work together.” 

The event will also feature a panel with Senate President Warren Petersen, Senate Minority Leader Mitzi Epstein, House Speaker Ben Toma, and House Minority Leader Lupe Contreras, who will talk about what their respective caucuses intend to focus on in 2024. 

“There’s plenty to discuss, from how to close the budget shortfall, to how to craft a new education funding plan, to economic development, water stewardship, and much more,” Seiden said. “The Arizona Chamber has big items on the to-do list this year, and we’re looking forward to getting down to work with the Legislature.” 

The Chamber will distribute its 2024 Business Agenda at the event, which outlines its priorities and positions on dozens of issues affecting the business community. 

Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs Courtney Coolidge says the Chamber is focused on the continuation of the Arizona Commerce Authority, which is up for review. 

“Arizona needs a statewide economic development agency, and the Arizona Commerce Authority has done an excellent job. The pipeline of potential new jobs has never looked better,” Coolidge said. “We look forward to discussing with lawmakers of both parties why the ACA is so essential to the state’s economic growth.” 

On education funding, Coolidge says the Chamber looks forward to working with lawmakers on a successor to Proposition 123, which voters in 2016 passed to increase the distribution from the state land trust to K-12 schools. She says the naysayers about the measure have been proven wrong. 

“When Proposition 123 was first presented to voters, there were some folks who claimed we’d be damaging the health of the state land trust for future generations, but that didn’t happen. In fact, the trust is stronger than ever, and has proven to be a stable, reliable funding source for education,” she said. “As we proved with Prop. 123, we can fund education without raising taxes, without creating new burdens on the state budget, and still protect the land trust for future generations.” 

Also on Friday, attendees will hear from statewide elected officials including Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, Treasurer Kimberly Yee, Superintendent Tom Horne, and Corporation Commissioner Lea Marquez Peterson. 

“All of these positions play a role in economic development,” Seiden said. “From sound fiscal management to smart business-friendly processes, reliable energy, and good schools, job creators need steady leadership from all these offices. We’re looking forward to hearing about what’s on their plate in 2024 as together we work to make Arizona the best place to grow a business.”

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