Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Partner Council

The Partner Council is pleased to recognize its newest member, First American Title, as well as our new Partner Council Title Sponsor, Arizona Bank & Trust. Plus, save the date for upcoming Partner Council events, including a Leaders Dialogue Series, Luncheon with Senator Jeff Flake and Partner Council Wine Reception.

Welcome to our newest Partner Council member

First American Title
First American Title serves home buyers and sellers, real estate professionals, loan originators and servicers, commercial property professionals, homebuilders and others involved in commercial property transactions with products and services specific to their needs.  First American Title is our first new Partner Council member for the 2013-14 fiscal year.  Please join us in welcoming them to the Chamber and the Partner Council.

Chairman’s Corner

The fiscal year 2012-2013 will be remembered as a significant year at the Chamber. It will be remembered as the year we got things under way quickly, and profitably, with a move to new “right sized” offices. It will be remembered as a year when the recession induced philosophy of “doing more with less” felt like the right answer. And it will be remembered as a year when the Chamber’s financial operations were on budget and in the black. So overall, fiscal year 2013 will go down in the Chamber’s recent history as an exceptionally good operational year that I sense is a measure of great ones soon to follow.

I believe the Chamber’s year can be perceived as a reflection of the current economic conditions in Scottsdale and the region; a bellwether of the economy if you will. We can be positive because the business community as a whole reports both picking up steam and an optimistic attitude. Member companies are largely in this camp.  While this recovery is still fragile no doubt, there is a growing confidence that builds as momentum mounts. Surviving challenging times allows us to emerge stronger.

The Chamber is working hard to retool in the midst of these challenges. With a small, dedicated team, our staff continues to create new innovative programs and events while providing exceptional “value add” for a diverse membership.  This Chamber continues to be recognized as a quality organization made up of exceptional companies.

Economic Development

The final Economic Development Advisory Council (EDAC) meeting of the fiscal year took place on June 11th at DMB Associates. Members of the EDAC or future members of the Council should be aware that the group goes “dark” in July and August, with the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, September 10th, 7:30 am at DMB. Please contact Terry Finch for additional information. Before going dark, members of the EDAC committee met with the new Scottsdale Economic Development Director and a national expert on light rail and transit-oriented development and travel.

Public Policy

The Legislative Session
While we did not get everything we wanted, this was a strong year for the business community at the State Capitol. At times it appeared as though the session (traditionally 100 days, but this year closer to 160 days plus special sessions) would never end. There were entrenched battles regarding Medicaid. The budget debate prompted everything from television ads with the Governor to vetoes of key legislation to threats of ballot initiatives to overturn the Governor’s preferred legislative outcomes. And all of this came from within her own party! We are grateful to be represented at the State Capitol by the Dorn policy Group, who have worked for many years with the East Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT sales tax)

A Governor’s task force on TPT reform made several recommendations for improving and simplifying Arizona’s arcane sales tax laws, most of which were not controversial and add greatly to the goal of simplification. Other aspects were very controversial and caused substantial consternation among many of the cities and towns – among them Scottsdale.