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Gov. Brewer Utilizes Executive Order to Establish Arizona Commerce Authority

July 14, 2010

Via Executive Order, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer established the Arizona Commerce Authority, a quasi-public authority, that eventually will replace the Arizona Department of Commerce. A 34-member board comprised mostly of C-level executives, chaired by the governor, will lead the transition from the old department to the new authority. Gov. Brewer earmarked $10 million in federal stimulus dollars to establish the authority.

Gov. Brewer utilized an Executive Order to create the authority after her plan was unable to obtain approval in the recent legislative session. Even with strong legislative support, the legislature adjourned in mid-May without bringing the bill to a vote. Some details, including the dissolution of the Arizona Department of Commerce, will need legislative approval when the legislature reconvenes in January. However, due to Arizona's poor economic climate, Gov. Brewer believed it was imperative to establish the authority before January.

The authority will narrow Arizona's economic development efforts to a handful of key industries and coordinate the efforts of key partners. The industries include science, technology, aerospace and defense. Solar energy also will become one of the state's main economic development priorities under the authority. Key partners like Science Foundation Arizona, universities, regional economic development groups and the member communities of Arizona's Councils of Governments also will be coordinated and integrated by the authority to strengthen the state's economic development efforts.

Several responsibilities of the Arizona Department of Commerce will be transferred to the authority. However, many responsibilities of the Department of Commerce (e.g. affordable housing programs, energy rebates, and calculating the state's unemployment rate) will transfer over to other state agencies. This will allow the authority to focus on business attraction and retention. To increase the state's domestic and global competitiveness, the authority also will advise the state legislature on changing and developing legislation that is business friendly. Jerry Colangelo, vice chairman of the authority, is already calling for a revamping of Arizona's tax code.

Read the Governor's Press Release Here: http://www.azgovernor.gov/dms/upload/PR_062910_BrewerEstablishesNewAZCommerceAuthority.pdf

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