Local Government Victories
Worked with Tucson’s City Council and Pima County Board of Supervisors to build a more business-friendly atmosphere, including:
2012 - 2013
• Successfully created and promoted adoption of a Business Bill of Rights (Joint Business Objectives) platform with Pima County and the City of Tucson to improve business- friendly service delivery.
• Successfully promoted the adoption of a local purchasing preference in City of Tucson procurement.
• The Southern Arizona Business PAC attained a ‘Super-PAC’ status. The Chamber is the only business organization with a Super-PAC headquartered in Southern Arizona. This places the Tucson Metro Chamber in a unique political position to strongly support pro-business candidates and public policy.
• 94% of candidates supported by the Southern Arizona Business PAC won their election demonstrating that the voice of business is listened to in our community.
• Created Interface program to provide members with access to city and county leaders.
• Created issue-oriented Government Affairs committee structure that puts volunteers with special expertise on committees such as Infrastructure, Healthcare, etc.
• Non-partisan candidate evaluation committee held more than 40 candidate interviews providing an excellent opportunity for Chamber volunteers to meet candidates and assess business positions of future elected officials.
• Met with city, county and state officials more than 100 times.
• Hosted the State of the City presentation with Mayor Rothschild to deliver information about city issues.
• Hosted town hall style debate for Arizona Corporation Commission candidates providing direct access for members to interface with candidates and elected officials.
• Parking Code Rewrite: Worked with a stakeholder group to rewrite the City of Tucson’s parking code, adopted by mayor and council.
• The Economic Stimulus Stakeholder Group for the City of Tucson: Resulted in the deferral of impact fees, saving builders the debt carrying costs.
• City of Tucson Land Use Code: Continuing participation in effort to reorganize the code.
• Facilitation of the Development Services Stakeholders Group: Resulted in significant redesign of the development standards.
• Transportation: Advocated for High-Speed Rail to be included in the State Transportation Plan.
• Military Community Relations Committee and Davis-Monthan: The Chamber strongly supported the relationships between Davis-Monthan, the 162nd Air Nation Guard and the Tucson community.
• The Chamber also hosted workshops to help small businesses learn how to do business with the Air Force.
• Pima Association of Government Environmental Planning Advisory Committee: Advocated for reasonable and manageable environmental policies.
• City/County Water/Waste Water Study: Chamber advocated for inclusive process and long term business friendly growth policies.
Federal and State Victories
The Tucson Metro Chamber worked to promote a pro-business agenda through the following:
• Legislative agenda was created for 2013 and communicated to members of the Arizona Legislature in face-to-face meetings.
• Implemented new legislative tracking system allowing the Chamber and members to effectively manage track over 300 bills at the legislature this session.
• Created online access to a tracking list of the Chamber’s most important bills allowing open and transparent access for members to follow issues the Chamber is working on.
• Hosted the State of the State presentation with Governor Brewer to deliver information about state issues.
• Hosted meetings with all newly-elected state legislators in January so they would know the Chamber’s priorities and positions on state business issues.
• Fought for an Unemployment Special Assessment provision that protects the amount Arizona businesses pay.
• Advocated for laws that will protect your business from medical marijuana abuses.
• Advocated for reduced corporate taxes, structural changes development-impact fees and various pro-business worker’s compensation bills.
• Supported medical malpractice reform that raised the burden of proof for lawsuits.
• Helped reform the state pension fund.
• Helped ensure Rio Nuevo funding remained available for local use.
• In Congress, the Tucson Metro Chamber opposed onerous union-sponsored Card Check provisions that would have ended secret ballots in union elections.
• Opposed the federal healthcare “reform” legislation while advocating for sensible health insurance reform.
• Fought for more federal transportation funding for Arizona.
• Continuing efforts to reduce or eliminate regressive taxes and burdensome regulation.
• Works to support the F-35’s arrival at the 162nd Air National Guard station to create 2,000 construction jobs.
• Chamber leads multi-organizational effort called the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance (SADA) to protect and promote the military presence in Southern Arizona.
• Chamber President & CEO, Mike Varney serves on the Mayor’s Business Advisory Group to promote a stronger local economy and a more business-friendly City government.
• Promoted permitting for the Rosemont Copper mine facility to create 1,500 construction jobs and 600 permanent jobs.
• President & CEO, Mike Varney serves on Air Service Committee to encourage more airline flights into and out of Tucson.
• Worked to defeat single use plastic bag ban in City of Tucson keeping the choice of bagging options between the retail consumer and business owner.
• President & CEO, Mike Varney serves on Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority board to increase tourism through amateur sports events.
• Asked for and received appointment of Dale Calvert, CPA to the City Road Bond Oversight Committee to ensure compliance with financing intentions and application of funds.
• President & CEO, Mike Varney works on City work group to represent business and deal with abandoned shopping carts.
• Promoted the development of the Red Rock multimodal transportation facility and improved trade with Mexico.
• Promoted regional approach to job creation tour that included outreach to suburban communities.
• Held Outlooks event to deliver information about growing and improving our community.
Business and Workforce Development
• Saved members hundreds of thousands of dollars by way of Chamber affinity programs with Office Depot, SCF Arizona and EffortlessHR.
• Implemented the Office Depot employee discount program providing members a money-saving benefit to share with their employees.
• Conducted a successful marketing support project for small businesses through the University of Arizona Eller College to assist member businesses in solving marketing challenges.
• Launched the Peerspectives program to give small and medium size businesses a resource for problem solving.
• Upgraded the Chamber’s resources library to provide a comprehensive body of resources for small businesses.
• Introduced Tools for Business providing members a resource for extensive information on how to start and grow a business.
• Recognized and celebrated locally owned small businesses at the Copper Cactus Awards.
• Held Military Affairs Committee federal procurement workshops to help small businesses do business with the federal government.
• Created a library of resources on the Chamber’s website to help members navigate the Affordable Care Act.
• Skilled Employee Resource Committee: Developed and chaired by Chamber staff, was designed to help highly skilled job seekers find suitable employment.
• JTED Advisory Board: Represented the “Business-Management Administrative Services.”
• Collaborated with the Tucson Center for Cultural Enrichment to deliver the State of Education to provide information on education needs in our community.
• Collaborated with the Tucson Center for Cultural Enrichment to award seven scholarships to graduating high school seniors to continue their education and establish careers in Southern Arizona.
• Publicly promoted eradication of weeds on City streets and medians.
• Backed Prop 409 to repair our city streets.
• Integrated mobile website increasing visibility and lead generation to member businesses.
• Received WACE Journalistic Excellence Award recognizing the Chamber for quality communications with members.
• Increased website traffic by 16% providing members greater visibility and lead generation.
• Increased distribution of The Chamber Edge by 25% providing members greater visibility and access to information.
• Launched The Chamber Edge, the Chamber's official bi-monthly print news magazine.
• Launched the new Chamber website.
• Expanded social media marketing efforts to include Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.