Skip to content

Arizona Commerce Authority survives debate, approved through 2029

PHX Business Journal

The Arizona Commerce Authority will continue leading state business incentives and attracting companies to Arizona for another five years.

Gov. Katie Hobbs signed House Bill 2210 on June 18 for the continuation of the ACA through July 2029. The state agency was scheduled to be sunset this year.

“This legislation is a huge win for Arizonans and our economy — allowing us to continue and build upon the economic momentum that has made our state a global magnet for jobs and investment,” ACA President and CEO Sandra Watson said in a statement.

The extension of the ACA passed following months of debate surrounding the agency’s spending for marketing efforts and whether the ACA should be disbanded.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said the ACA had violated the state’s gift clause after spending more than $2.4 million from 2018 to 2023 to woo business executives through CEO forums that are dedicated to marketing and attraction efforts for Arizona.

The ACA, which was created in 2011, has said that its CEO programs have led to 27 nonbinding commitments for businesses to expand or relocate in Arizona, resulting in more than 15,000 projected new jobs and more than $3.25 billion in projected capital investment. The agency has also been involved in multiple high-profile wins for the state, including attracting Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to build a massive north Phoenix semiconductor facility.

The ACA has now rerouted how it is funding CEO forums by instead sponsoring the Valley’s host organization for major sporting events held in metro Phoenix. The ACA sponsored $550,000 to nonprofit Phoenix Final Four Local Organizing Committee this year to support the CEO forums surrounding the NCAA Men’s Final Four that was held in Glendale.

The findings came after a performance and sunset review audit in 2023 raised questions about how millions of dollars in gifts and incentives were deployed by the ACA. This included concerns that the ACA risked fraud by approving millions in business incentives without proper verification or documentation.

The new legislation that continued the ACA through 2029 will address some of those concerns.

Through the new law, the ACA cannot use taxpayer dollars to provide lodging, alcoholic beverages, personal transportation or entertainment tickets to business executives for its CEO forums.

The ACA will also have to submit a copy of its annual reports to Gov. Hobbs, the president of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives with information about the progress made toward the state’s goals for direct job creation, capital investment and higher wages.

For its business incentives, the ACA CEO will be required to track the status and completion of any agreement provisions and retain supporting documentation for inspection on request.

By September each year, every municipality in Arizona will also be required to submit statistics related to timelines for building permits, zoning and plat approvals and other relevant data to the ACA. The ACA will then compile the information and submit a report to the governor and other state leaders annually.

Register for the Council’s upcoming Phoenix and Tucson tech events and Optics Valley optics + photonics events.


Sign up for our