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Arizona Chamber and U.S. Chamber convene tele-town hall on reconciliation bill, urge Sinema to oppose

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Tuesday night convened a statewide tele-townhall about why the groups are urging Sen. Kyrsten Sinema , D-Ariz., to oppose the massive social spending bill known as Build Back Better.

Arizona Chamber President and CEO Danny Seiden and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley discussed the bill鈥檚 negative effects on inflation, the tax environment and federal budget deficits. 

Neil Bradley

Seiden said Arizona鈥檚 economy was one of the fastest states in the country to recover the jobs it lost during the pandemic-induced downturn and he noted the consistent rate at which the state is attracting new jobs. 

The reconciliation bill, warned Seiden, could hurt the state鈥檚 positive growth trajectory, and his chamber is urging Sen. Sinema and her colleague Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., to reject the legislation. 

Seiden said the bill is too expensive and that it will make the 鈥渁lready Jimmy-Carter-level inflation rates even worse.鈥 

Bradley, a public policy veteran, said that the bill was one of the worst pieces of legislation he has seen in some 25 years of tracking Congress鈥 work. 

Bradley also noted that Arizona鈥檚 economic growth can be hindered by policy crafted in Washington, D.C.

鈥淎rizona is what we want the nation鈥檚 economy to be: dynamic, vibrant, growing 鈥  that’s the definition of what we want to emulate,鈥 Bradley said. 鈥淭he problem is that sometimes Washington can throw a wet blanket on all that growth and at the same time raise prices for everyday families and businesses.鈥

Bradley said that last weekend around 1,880 pages of the bill were received by lawmakers on Capitol Hill containing 鈥渢axes, new powers for the Internal Revenue Service, and [new] ways of regulating businesses.鈥 

Sixty-three percent of small businesses across the U.S. have had to raise their prices due to inflationary pressures, and Bradley said he鈥檚 certain that the bill will add to these pressures partly because of the amount of money that it requires, which will 鈥渉ave to be borrowed, in this case from mainly overseas creditors, and paid back by higher taxes later.鈥

Seiden said he鈥檚 concerned with the penalties that the bill would enforce on Arizona鈥檚 economy, pointing to a portion of the legislation that offers a more generous tax credit for electric vehicle purchases if the car was assembled in a unionized factory.

Seiden said the provision conflicts with , which enshrines the state鈥檚 鈥渞ight to work” (RTW) status and makes labor union membership voluntary. He argued that Arizona鈥檚 growing electric vehicle manufacturing sector is thanks in part to Arizona鈥檚 status as an RTW state, which the bill would undermine.

鈥淭his provision would punish non-union companies to choose between operating at either a competitive disadvantage or protecting their employees,鈥 Seiden said. 

Both Bradley and Seiden called for the bill to be scrapped and that Congress should start over. They both expressed appreciation for Sinema’s work to improve the bill, but that their chambers are urging her not to support it and instead back pro-economic-growth policies. 

鈥淎rizona鈥檚 Chamber and the U.S. Chamber are working together on an advocacy campaign here in the state thanking Sen. Sinema for so far standing up to the big tax and spend agenda in Washington and urging her to not let up, to keep fighting back against policies that will drive up costs more than they already are,鈥 Seiden said.

Nalani Sommer

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