Gosar Takes Pulse of Business Community
Roundtable Meeting Helps Local Businesses
By Paige Turner
Congressman Paul Gosar states, “I am so proud to serve the people of Arizona’s First Congressional District. DC is not where you find solutions to challenges facing rural America. I want to encourage individuals and organizations to reach out to any of my offices so that we can work together to find the solutions to the problems that plague our nation.”
On Tuesday afternoon, February 18th, 2020, Congressman Paul Gosar was in Payson hosting an intimate business roundtable at Tiny’s Restaurant. The meeting was well attended by select business owners from the community. State, Federal, and County representatives, were there along with skilled professionals that accompanied the Gosar team. Tom Van Flein – Legislative Director/Chief Legal Counsel explained the concept of the meeting was to establish a dialog between the business owners and the Congressman’s team in order to collect information about challenges business owners face in Payson, and across the state.
After everyone introduced themselves, Gosar started with good news from Washington D.C. about the state’s economy, and the Trump Administration’s active Regulatory Reform Program. The program simplifies the regulations required by
Trump has been aggressive in the program’s execution, cutting 8 1/2 regulations for every 1 new regulation. Since the implementation, it has saved over 50 billion dollars a year in regulatory costs. That works out to saving every single American over $3,000 per year.
Mike Kaiser from Choice Truck & Auto doesn’t see logic in Arizona’s tax break for private party automobile sales.
“It seems like Arizona unfairly penalizes the dealerships, and encourages Craig’s List auto purchases, leaving the consumer unprotected from fraudulent deals.” Said Kaiser. He went on to say, “The roughly 1% higher tax rate vs. the valley dealerships isn’t that much of an issue for me, I just take it off the price of the vehicle to stay competitive.”
Payson’s high sales tax rate affects all retailers, and now with discriminatory internet sales tax rates, and regulations are more complex than ever. Some agreed, it just isn’t worth the red tape to sell online or retail at all, because of the confusing mess of paperwork due at the end of every month.
Tom Morrissey, the Mayor of Payson, chimed in on taxation, “The current administration is working on taking the tax off of essential foods like fresh vegetables, milk, meat and bread, and leaving the tax on processed and fast food items like soda, chips, pre-packaged foods. This would allow the town to continue to generate revenue, but mostly from tourists and passers by.”
“If I could take the food tax completely away, I would. I’m against food taxes. But until the poorly managed Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) pension fund gets back on track the money from the portion of the food tax that will stay, on the processed food, is necessary.” said Mayor Morrissey.
As the discussion continued we learned how Farrel Hoosava must deal with three layers of bureaucracy at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino. Federal and State imposed restrictions for hiring people results in it taking up to 10 days before they can start work. All new hires undergo a thorough background check in order to be Arizona state certified. Under the State of Arizona Gaming Compact, Section 5 (d) (1) prohibits hiring applicants with a felony.
“Applicants don’t want to wait around for days before they can work, so it’s hard to find people to hire.” explains Hossava.
Farrel has worked his way to the top at the Casino, he started working at an entry level job, and now runs the Apache Tribe’s Mazatzal Hotel & Casino. It’s the largest employer in Payson, employing over 500 people.
Across the US and in Arizona water deals are made between the Federal government and the Tribe. However, the catch in the system is to complete the agreement between the two, the lawyers at the Department of Interior (DoI) and Department of Indian Affairs (DoIA) have to negotiate the details. Many tribes across the state are currently in lingering negotiations with these lawyers. The lawyers seem to be intentionally dragging their feet. In Hoosava’s case, dragging for what is now over 30 years! This was news to the Gosar’s team. Tom Van Flein said, “We are currently dealing with similar issues with other tribes, and are already putting pressure on the DoI and DoIA lawyers to stop the obvious “milking of the system” and get these water deals done.”
Penny Pew, Gosar’s Constituent Services Director, gathered more information from Hoosava. and will work with the team to help push towards an expeditious settlement for the Apache Tribe.
Deborah Rose, 2020 Councilwoman candidate, brought affordable housing to the attention of the Congressman, and asked for help with this key component responsible for Payson’s lack of growth.
More Business Roundtable Meetings are scheduled in the near future with Gosar and his team. When the details are available, we will get the word out. So, keep reading The Payson News. ★