Business community reacts to State of the State address

Gov. Katie Hobbs on Monday delivered her second State of the State address, addressing the Legislature about her plans for the legislative session, and touching on subjects of interest to Arizona’s business community, including the state’s international ports of entry, economic development, and pharmaceutical pricing. 

The border 

Hobbs criticized the Biden administration for its border management and the recent closure of the Lukeville port of entry. 

“One needs to look no further than the decision to close the Lukeville port of entry, which did nothing to actually solve our immigration crisis but did hurt businesses and families,” she said. “My administration worked tirelessly to reverse this short-sighted action by the federal government and took extraordinary steps – including sending the National Guard to the border – to bring security and common sense to this situation.” 

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry has been equally critical of the Biden administration, and, when border crossings were closed in December, applauded the governor for calling for Lukeville and the Morley pedestrian crossing in Nogales to be reopened. 

After a month-long closure, the Arizona ports, as well as an international bridge in Texas and a pedestrian crossing in California, were reopened on January 4. 

“We’re obviously pleased Lukeville and Morley Gate are reopening, but these ports of entry never should have been closed. Cutting off border states from international trade and travel, which are integral parts of our economy, is never the answer,” Chamber President and CEO Danny Seiden said last week. “This administration and Congress need to come together now on a border policy that strikes the right balance between security and commerce.” 

Jobs and the economy 

The governor sounded an upbeat note on the economy. 

“Let us celebrate that today, more Arizonans are employed than at any point in our state’s history,” she said, and noted that Arizona leads the nation in foreign direct investment and touted that “Arizona leads the way in attracting the high-tech and advanced manufacturing businesses that are building our nation’s future.” 

She identified the Arizona Commerce Authority for its outstanding track record in attracting jobs to the state and called for the agency’s continuation as it goes through its sunset review in 2024, a point Seiden cheered. 

“Arizona job creators agree with Gov. Hobbs that the strong working relationship between the public and private sectors has produced a robust, resilient economy that is attracting new investment from across the country and around the world,” he said. “We look forward to working with her and lawmakers from both parties to ensure that the Arizona Commerce Authority – the nation’s leading state economic development agency – is renewed so that it can continue its excellent work.” 

Pharmaceutical pricing 

In her remarks on health care, the governor homed in on drug prices, saying high costs often force people to choose between buying medicines and other essential goods and services. 

But Seiden, who has been highly critical of federal efforts to slap price controls on pharmaceuticals, said the governor will likely get a cool reception from the business community on a similar state effort. 

“We are skeptical, however, of her plan to cap prices on prescription drugs,” he said. “Just as the Chamber has opposed efforts in Washington to impose risky pricing schemes that discourage lifesaving innovation, we will oppose similar efforts at a state level.” 


On education, the governor urged lawmakers to send to the ballot an extension of Proposition 123, the K-12 funding measure that voters approved in 2016 that increased the distribution from the state land trust to schools. 

“Let’s build on that success and send an even stronger Prop 123 to the voters, one that will provide our public schools another decade of funding certainty,” she said. 

The Chamber supports the governor’s call for a renewed K-12 funding plan. 

In a column that appeared in The Arizona Capitol Times in January, Seiden wrote, “The Chamber and job creators are ready to work constructively with the Legislature on the next generation of K-12 funding. We’ll urge lawmakers to ensure the next version of Proposition 123, like its predecessor, doesn’t raise taxes. And we want to work with members of both parties to ensure the new version doesn’t create new stress on the general fund.” 

The session ahead 

Seiden is optimistic about the session ahead and what 2024 has in store for job creators and says he’s looking forward to working with the Legislature and governor to make the Arizona business environment even stronger. 

“While job creators and the governor won’t agree on everything this session, she’ll get no argument from us that Arizona is on the ascent and that we should strive to ensure that everyone who calls Arizona home should have the opportunity to succeed. Here’s to a productive session on behalf of the people of Arizona,” he said. 

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