Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly have an opportunity to help keep our state’s economy and business climate strong so we can continue creating jobs and improving local communities. To do so, they must stand up against economically harmful policies that some of their colleagues in Congress seem intent on pushing.
The “Protecting the Right to Organize Act,” ironically referred to as the PRO Act, would be devastating for Arizona’s economy. Fortunately, both our senators had the foresight to recognize the harm this legislation would cause to a state like ours and have so far withheld their support. Continuing to listen to local business leaders representing a variety of industries will make it clear that outright opposition to the policies within the PRO Act is the right choice for Arizona.
First, the PRO Act would undermine Arizona’s current competitive economic climate and our ability to attract a broad range of businesses and industries to our state. It would do so, primarily, by nullifying right-to-work laws here and in the more than two-dozen other states that have also passed them into law.
This means Arizona workers could once again be forced to pay union dues even if they didn’t vote for unionization. Not only that, but overturning our right-to-work laws would undermine the momentum Arizona has spent years building to attract companies away from less-business-friendly states like California and bring them to our cities and towns. Ultimately, that would mean fewer jobs and less economic opportunity.
Part of the reason Arizona has built such a strong economy over the years is because we have fostered a positive environment not only for business, but also for labor. That has helped us shore up manufacturing in our region, creating highly skilled, well-paying jobs that support hardworking Arizonans while spurring further business growth and development. This has led to a positive economic cycle that improves the quality of life and prosperity in communities across the state.
Policies like the ones promoted by the PRO Act would pile new costs and liabilities on Arizona businesses while increasing regulation, making it harder for them to expand their operations and workforce or invest in local projects. Moreover, we would have a harder time bringing new businesses to our state.
Ultimately, this legislation and policies like it threaten to unravel the progress Arizona has made in weaving together a strong, vibrant economy. Particularly after the past two years of economic turbulence and uncertainty, that is the last thing Arizonans need right now.
Instead, our collective priority should be to protect our competitive edge so we can continue growing a stronger, more resilient economy that benefits businesses and workers. As long as Sinema and Kelly continue to do what is in the best interest of Arizona’s workers, businesses, and our economic future we can carry forward our positive trajectory. Opposing the PRO Act and any of its misguided policies, whether in the PRO Act itself, or any provisions that may be covertly slipped into other, unrelated legislation, will be key to maintaining our momentum.
Suzanne Kinney is president & CEO of the Arizona Chapter of the NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.