Small Business Report Draws Attention To Lack Of Optimism

Small Business Report Draws Attention To Lack Of Optimism

By Terri Jo Neff |

The number of small business owners across America who expect business conditions to improve over the next six months dropped considerably in June, hitting the lowest level in the 48 years the National Federation of Independent Business has conducted the survey.

That was the dismal news released Tuesday by Chad Heinrich, NFIB’s state director for Arizona.

“With small-business-owner expectations dimming to a record low, it becomes even more important that we have state leaders focused on ways to improve business conditions for the small-business owner,” Heinrich said. “All Arizonans have benefited from state legislative and executive leaders who have adopted pro-small-business policies year-after-year.”

Heinrich’s statement drew attention to the NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index for June which showed a drop for the sixth consecutive month. That means the expectations of small business owners for better conditions have worsened every month of 2022.

NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg also addressed the pessimistic news revealed by the Small Business Optimism Index.

“On top of the immediate challenges facing small business owners including inflation and worker shortages, the outlook for economic policy is not encouraging either as policy talks have shifted to tax increases and more regulations,” Dunkelberg said.
 
Among the key findings in Tuesday’s report is that 50 percent of small business owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a historically “very high” rating. Of those hiring or trying to hire, 94 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.

Even one bit of good news in Tuesday’s report wasn’t all that positive. According to NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index, the net percent of owners raising their average selling prices decreased three points. However, the decrease comes after May’s record high reporting of price increases.

Heinrich advised that Arizonans cannot rest on the successes that have kept the state at or near the top of post-pandemic economic gains.

“We must continue to support leaders who understand that most new jobs are created by small business owners,” he said. “Small businesses drive the Arizona economy forward.”

The NFIB Research Center has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since the 4th quarter of 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are randomly drawn from NFIB’s membership.

California Unions Are Pushing a Debt Cancellation Initiative in Arizona That Would Make Bernie Sanders Proud

California Unions Are Pushing a Debt Cancellation Initiative in Arizona That Would Make Bernie Sanders Proud

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

“Let’s just make everything free!” That might as well be the Left’s motto at this point as they clearly don’t understand how a good economy works. While the past 18 months under President Biden is proof enough of that, they’re not done yet. The Left is fully committed to its plan to build back even broker. And now, they’re targeting conservative states like Arizona to do so.

The latest initiative being pushed in our state comes from California unions. (Because apparently no one knows a good economy like a California union.) It’s called the “Predatory Debt Collection Practices Act,” which sounds harmless enough. After all, who doesn’t want to stick it to predatory debt collectors? But just as you would expect from a California initiative being pushed here in Arizona, it’s not only anti-creditor, it’s anti-business. And it would make Bernie Sanders proud…

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Inflation Crisis in Arizona at Historic Worst, Phoenix Most Impacted

Inflation Crisis in Arizona at Historic Worst, Phoenix Most Impacted

By Corinne Murdock |

President Joe Biden’s skyrocketing, 40-year-high inflation levels have resonated with a historic worst for Arizona. Arizona households are spending an average of nearly $6,000 more on household necessities since the 2020 election. 

According to the most recent report from the Common Sense Institute, a Phoenix-based research nonprofit, Phoenix inflation prices rose over eight percent in one year. The metropolitan area reached 11 percent price inflation, nearly three points higher than the nation’s average. 

The institute noted that the current rate of increasing inflation would cause the cost of living in Phoenix to be higher than San Francisco’s cost of living by 2034. 

Additionally, the cost of rent and housing grew by nearly 15 percent over the last year. The pandemic marked a record-high for the number of those moving to Arizona. 

Yet, Biden declared that the last year marked positive changes lending to a “historically strong” economic foundation that would result in a decline in inflation. 

Governor Doug Ducey blasted Biden’s handling of inflation as a “disaster,” noting that Arizona families were paying an average of over $500 a month more in household costs. 

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece succeeding Memorial Day, Biden blamed inflation on Russia President Vladimir Putin. Biden said that Putin’s warring impacted the energy market and supply chain. The president alluded to heavier intervention in the Russia-Ukraine war, with more aggression toward Russia, to uplift the flagging economy.

“We can’t let up on our global effort to punish Mr. Putin for what he’s done, and we must mitigate these effects for American consumers,” said Biden.

The president explained that the federal government would build a million more affordable housing units, and proposed using Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. He also proposed recouping lost tax revenue from companies established overseas who benefit from international tax policies, and claimed that billionaires pay lower tax rates than working-class individuals like teachers or firefighters. 

Biden also claimed that the job market was the strongest since World War II, though he didn’t distinguish between new jobs and those restored after the pandemic layoffs. 

The president relied on the “kitchen table” illustration again to empathize with Americans’ struggles. (For context: there are over 40 speeches from Biden on the White House’s website in which he’s used the “kitchen table” illustration; it is unclear whether his speech writer has a penchant for kitchen tables or whether the term is meant to serve as a touchstone concept, but former first lady Hillary Clinton is credited for popularizing the term within the Democratic Party in the 1990s). 

Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs has picked up on the “kitchen table” illustration, though she hasn’t denounced the Biden administration’s handling of inflation.

Instead, Hobbs blamed Ducey and the Republican-controlled state legislature for not doing more to curb inflation. She insisted that her plan — Affordable Arizona — would mitigate inflation. 

Biden has denounced one specific plan from across the aisle by Senator Rick Scott (R-FL): a “12 Point Plan to Rescue America.”

Earlier this month, the president reiterated that the plan to bring down inflation consisted of taking a hands-off approach with the Federal Reserve. He then listed two end goals — lowering the cost of living and reducing the deficit — as part of the plan, without elaborating further. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Arizona Aggregate Gross Income, Population Grew From Those Fleeing High-Tax States

Arizona Aggregate Gross Income, Population Grew From Those Fleeing High-Tax States

By Corinne Murdock |

The latest Internal Revenue Service (IRS) migration report revealed that Arizona gained about $4.8 billion aggregate adjusted gross income.

Over 247,600 were reported migrating into Arizona from all 50 states. Nearly 63,100 from California, over 15,700 from Texas, over 15,000 from Washington, nearly 12,800 from Colorado, and over 12,500 from Illinois. 

During the same period, the state lost over 169,400 individuals: over 25,300 to California, over 16,500 to Texas, nearly 9,000 to Colorado, over 8,800 to Washington, and over 7,600 to Florida. 

Based on the latest IRS data, the Wall Street Journal editorial board discovered a pattern: high-tax states lost the most aggregate adjusted gross income. The majority of those states were blue, with Ohio being the exception.

New York lost $19.5 billion, California lost $17.8 billion, Illinois lost $8.5 billion, Massachusetts lost $2.6 billion, New Jersey lost $2.3 billion, Maryland lost $1.9 billion, Ohio lost $1.4 billion, Minnesota lost $1.2 billion, Pennsylvania lost $1.2 billion, and Virginia lost $1.1 billion.

California has the highest individual income tax rate in the nation at over 13 percent, followed by New York at nearly 11 percent, and New Jersey and Washington, D.C. at 10.75 percent. 

They noted that Florida gained $23.7 billion, Texas gained $6.3 billion, North Carolina gained $3.6 billion, Tennessee and Nevada gained $2.6 billion, Colorado gained $2.3 billion, Idaho gained $2.1 billion, and Utah gained $1.3 billion. 

Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and Nevada don’t have an income tax. North Carolina, Colorado, and Utah have flat income tax. Idaho has a graduated-rate income tax. 

Arizona’s graduated income tax rate ranges from those individuals making up to about $27,800 at 2.59 percent to those making between $166,800 to $250,000 at 4.5 percent. Those making over $250,000 pay one percent of their taxable income, plus just over $10,000 and a 3.5 percent surcharge. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Let’s Zero Out Arizona’s Income Tax—And End Tax Day Forever

Let’s Zero Out Arizona’s Income Tax—And End Tax Day Forever

By Matt Salmon |

If Tax Day were held in early November instead of April 15th, I doubt Republicans would lose a close election again.

The financial squeeze of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) filing deadline always feels personal. But it especially hurts this year. On top of President Joe Biden’s proposal to hike taxes on everything from capital gains to married couples, families across the country are suffering from another hidden tax: historic inflation.

The nationwide Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 7.9 percent as of last month. In Arizona, where the average price of gas now exceeds $4.60 per gallon, the Phoenix area is suffering from a CPI increase closer to 11 percent. Wherever you look, workers’ paychecks just aren’t going as far as they used to.

It’s wrong.

Florida and Texas have it right. People deserve to keep the money they earn. That’s why, if I’m elected as Arizona’s next governor, I plan to eliminate our state’s income tax once and for all.

Republicans need to stay on offense. Democrats in the Grand Canyon State dream of turning us into California. They have been aggressive in their efforts to do so, from pushing a 78 percent hike on small businesses at the state level to ramping up tax and fee increases at the local level.

Conservatives cannot allow ourselves to be pacified by simply stopping these bad ideas. We should feel equally comfortable moving in the opposite direction. And so far, thanks to smart policymaking by Governor Doug Ducey and our state legislators, we have been successful in doing so.

Over the past few years, Arizona has indexed the state income tax rates to inflation; conformed the state income tax to the Internal Revenue Code after passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; exempted military retirement from the state income tax; and passed into law a 2.5 percent flat tax representing the single largest tax cut in our state’s 110-year history.

Along the way, Democrats repeatedly warned that further reductions in the income tax would plunge us into turmoil and bankrupt government services. In reality, our state budget is in better shape than ever, with $5.27 billion in projected surplus revenue this year and plenty of room to return money to taxpayers.

Our economy is booming, too. We experienced the third-fastest economic recovery in the United States coming out of the pandemic, and we are expected to add more than 720,000 jobs over the next ten years.

These are the fruits of freedom. It is well past time to go further.

By eliminating the state income tax, we will create a business environment so welcoming to new investment that we’ll be beating businesses and entrepreneurs off with a stick. These job creators won’t pay any income tax. But they will pay property taxes, sales taxes, and more—and our tax revenues, along with our economy, will continue to grow hand-in-hand.

The bottom line is that hardworking families deserve to keep the money they earn, especially in inflationary times like these when the American Dream feels so far out of reach.

Zeroing out this tax—and ringing in Arizona’s final Tax Day—is not just the smart thing to do. It’s the right thing to do. I am the only candidate for governor who has endorsed it. And, as our next governor, it’s exactly what we will do.

Matt Salmon, a former U.S. representative and co-founder of the Freedom Caucus, is a Republican candidate for governor of Arizona.