As a proud American, I’ve always emphasized the importance of supporting critical issues and like-minded individuals through voting — it is one of the most important actions a person can take as a citizen of this great nation. Exercising your fundamental right to vote for representatives who reflect your values is one of the easiest ways you can serve our country.
According to the Arizona secretary of state, 1.4 million Arizonans cast a ballot in the primary election, meaning that 36% of registered voters made their voices heard. Like many things in 2020, this was unprecedented. In 2016, only 29% of registered voters participated in the primary election. I found these numbers to be encouraging, and I hope that the increase in primary election voting will translate to increased voting on November 3.
In just a little more than a month, every citizen will have something in common — we will all have the opportunity to vote in the 2020 general election. People must be registered to vote by October 5 to participate in the election.
Ahead of the election, I’m preparing myself by reviewing the candidates and the issues in my area so that when I receive my ballot, I will be able to make educated choices for my representatives at every level of government. For me, part of this education is reviewing the Greater Phoenix Chamber’s Political Action Committee’s endorsed candidates. With a rigorous process that reviews incumbents’ voting records and interviews new candidates, the Chamber PAC endorsed qualified candidates who are committed to promoting economic prosperity and strong communities.
In addition, we are encouraging all voters to become educated on the ballot propositions. We are the voice of the business community at every level of government. Our robust public affairs program gathers business leaders and policy experts to evaluate proposed legislation, vet candidates and review ballot measures for the potential impacts on the Greater Phoenix region’s economic recovery and prosperity.
The chamber opposes Prop. 207. In our view, more harm than good will result in the legalization of marijuana, with the potential for severe consequences, including increased workplace accidents and lower overall workplace productivity, as well as increasing strain on our already struggling public health system, especially in the wake of the global pandemic.
Arizona also faces increased rates of addiction and other costs associated with drug treatment and rehabilitation. If legalization passes by this initiative, it will be nearly impossible to change as Arizona law severely limits the ability of the Legislature to reverse or alter a voter-passed measure, regardless of unintended consequences or a public health emergency.
The chamber opposes Prop. 208 because of the impact the tax increase will have on Arizona’s small business. The business community’s largest concern is that this is intended to “tax the rich,” but will result in significant tax hikes (77%) on small business owners who pay taxes through individual income tax method. Small businesses are the epicenter of Arizona’s economy, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the community. Arizona’s small businesses are already struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – this tax will further hinder their efforts to stabilize and will significantly harm efforts to grow the economy.
The chamber and the business community recognize the importance of education funding. However, we urge lawmakers and members of the public to holistically develop a funding approach for the P-20 education system. This initiative excludes community colleges and universities, which are drivers of workforce development and economic activity in communities across the state.
I know that everyone is overwhelmed by the state of the world at the moment. Everyone is busy navigating the uncertain economic climate, leading through crisis, or supporting communities in need. However, in the coming weeks, I urge Arizonans to exercise their rights, conduct thorough candidate and issue research, ensure they are registered to vote and join me in proudly voting on November 3.
Todd Sanders is president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber.