Today is Day 61 of the legislative session with no end in sight, and many legislators are not expecting a Sine Die to come quickly. Predictions of a short session were plentiful at the Legislature at the start, but the goal of a finished budget by crossover week (February 24-28) came and went without a cohesive budget being finalized. The Legislature still has until March 27 to hear bills in committee, except the Appropriations Committees, which have an additional week.
With the COVID-19 response taking priority for government, as well as significantly impacting many sectors of the economy, it is unknown at this time the impact the pandemic will have on the ability of the Legislature to function. The Chamber will continue to advocate for small business and responsible actions during this time. Click HERE to see an updated list of the Chamber’s priority bills.
This week significant changes have been announced throughout the economy, including the cancellation or post to a later date, or limited to substantially smaller crowds. In this time of concern, we encourage everyone continuing in their daily lives, while making smart decisions. While our staff has been on numerous calls relating to the pandemic, one thing is clear: proper hygiene is the number one way to combat this virus.

Another is to stayed informed by your local public health official. The Pima County Department of Health has a web page dedicated to keeping the public aware of the current threat of a coronavirus outbreak in our region – which at this time is LOW. Arizona currently has 9 cases (3 in Maricopa County, 5 in Pinal County and 1 in Pima County). Daily updates on the number of cases can be found  HERE. You can stayed informed HERE on information specific to Pima County. If you need assistance with transportation during this time, the Regional Transportation is able to offer rides to medical services through Dial-A-Ride services: 792-9222. More information HERE.
Farhang & Medcoff partner and Tucson Metro Chamber board chair, Tim Medcoff, will be participating in a Facebook Live Q&A session Monday at 3:00 p.m. This is your opportunity to have your pertinent questions about employer-employee relations, best practices for customers, and legal considerations in the current environment answered. Please respond to this email by Monday at noon with any questions or concerns you'd like him to address. We also plan to transcribe the announcement afterward and will share it on our social media channels.
As we are all inundated with the 24-hour news cycle and misinformation, fear of the Coronavirus is keeping customers away from restaurants and other small businesses who usually operate on small margins. Here are a couple of ideas of what you can do. Go to your favorite small business and purchase a gift card or gift certificate (or get one online if possible). Buy it directly from them and when things settle down you can go purchase something from your shop of choice with your certificate!

Many local businesses are doing what they do best during this time – they are thinking outside the box and adjusting to the economy. As the Chamber, we wholeheartedly support our business community. As you see great examples of ingenuity at a local business, please send us a quick note or picture. We’ll be collecting them and sharing them. A few we have already seen are:
·        The SiCharro family of restaurants are offering a 10% discount on carryout orders
·         Tucson Symphony Orchestra is offering a credit toward next year’s shows in light of the canceled shows in March
·         Chef Chic is offering meals for takeout and delivery
The United States Air Force must conduct an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to determine what if any environmental consequences would result from a change of mission at any of its bases. An EIS is being conducted for Davis Monthan, which is being considered as an alternate basing site for 24 F-35A aircraft. The primary site being considered is in Fort Worth, Texas. The Air Force held a public hearing in Tucson on March 10, at which Amber Smith, President & CEO of the Chamber spoke in favor of the F-35 coming to Tucson. The Chamber has concerns over aspects of the analysis within the document, particularly with the overstatement of negative economic impacts by the louder aircraft. If you we not able to submit comments in person at the hearing, you have until March 31 to do so by email or letter. CONTINUE READING...