October 18 - 31, 2014
Community Commentary comprised of business owners, engineers, architects, attorneys and project managers have been involved. Open discussions with stakeholders about department strengths and opportunities for improvement help determine the formation of subcommittees. Some examples of topics that subcommittees cover include customer service, process and communication, regulatory review and standardization/consistency to name a few. The subcommittee members, along with assigned staff, meet biweekly to identify ways to improve performance. The whole process is customer-driven and recommendation initiatives are developed by task-force members themselves, with support from staff. A total of 59 recommended improvements have been identified and reported to the Board of Supervisors for approval. Most recommendations were implemented immediately with advances evident: a trial permit for adaptive re-use for renovating old buildings for new purposes; the co-location of several regulatory departments into Phoenix City Hall to give residents doing business with both the city and county a “one-stop shop” for their work.; the voluntary Cutting Edge Restaurant inspection program; the streamlining of the county dust permit application form from 42 pages to seven. I know this wasn’t easy. The early
sessions of the task forces were probably excruciating for county staff. A lot of gripes and stinging criticism were aired. Our employees were advised not to take things personally and, to their credit, were interested in doing better. We want to build working relationships and engage in partnering efforts. The task-force volunteers have spent over 100 hours searching for ways to balance efficiency and convenience without compromising public safety. I think we’re making progress. Denny Barney is a Gilbert resident and chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
Clock is ticking on Export-Import Bank re-authorization BY CHAD HEINRICH
Chad Heinrich. Submitted photo
Arizonans are hard at work— doing, creating, building and developing. The business community and community leaders are redefining and reshaping the state’s economy through tax reform, research-and-
development grants and business retention and expansion programs. In less than 30 days, a key component of Arizona’s economy and growth potential—a very sharp tool in our toolbox—will be eliminated if Congress fails to act. Without congressional action, the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank—a government agency that helps finance foreign sales of U.S. goods and services—will no longer be authorized to operate and aid American businesses and employers. The shutdown of the Ex-Im Bank would negatively impact the Arizona Comeback we have all worked diligently to advance. In the past seven years, the ExIm Bank has supported roughly $658 million of exports from companies in Arizona to countries such as Australia, Mexico and India. Currently, the Ex-Im Bank assists 117 Arizona companies—93 of them small businesses—to access these foreign markets. The Ex-Im Bank’s core mission is to facilitate business growth and create American jobs by helping companies of all sizes see the growth potential of exporting goods and services. It encourages companies to look beyond their current business model and expand into the global marketplace. Seven out of every 10 Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce members are small-business owners, many of whom don’t consider expanding their business to include
a global export model. The Ex-Im Bank can provide small businesses the assistance and guidance needed when they choose to transition into the export market. The Ex-Im Bank works hard for small businesses, providing them with certainty and protection that allows business owners to enter new markets, expand operations and create jobs. In 2013, Ex-Im supported 3,413 small business transactions worth $11.7 billion. In the past five years, it financed more small-business transactions than in the previous 11 years combined. If business leaders and community members fail to rally Congress to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, our state and nation will be at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace. As a part of the Arizona Comeback, employers and innovators have made great strides in advancing our state’s economy. Now is not the time to hinder growth. Now is the time to encourage business owners—big and small—to look beyond their current business expansion model and expand into global markets. Now is the time to support American businesses and American jobs. Now is the time to support the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. Chad Heinrich is the vice president of public affairs of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.