Last week, members of the ECoNA Board and Advisory Council met via teleconference with U.S. Senator Martha McSally to talk about the state of our recovery, chances for a new stimulus package and the resurgence of manufacturing in Arizona.
The lunchtime discussion was just one day before a major vote on the Republicans proposed “slimmed” down relief package, a $500 billion plan that ultimately was blocked by Senate Democrats the following day.
The senator defended the more targeted plan by noting the trillions of dollars that have already been approved for coronavirus relief.
“The intent of those first relief packages was to help everybody hang in there,” she said. “That seems like an eternity ago. But it’s been $3 trillion in funding so far. This is the first year since World War II that our debt is going to be the same size as our GDP.”
The new stimulus plan would have provided additional funding for supplemental unemployment benefits, small businesses, the postal service and schools.
Although Sen. McSally said Congress would continue to work towards a compromise, it is uncertain if any stimulus package will be passed prior to Election Day.
Senator Sees Manufacturing Returning to AZ
Sen. McSally was more optimistic about manufacturing jobs that are coming into Arizona as part of an effort to bring vital supply chains back to the United States instead of ceding them to China.
Two recent examples, she said, were Urbix Resources, which processes graphite and recently opened a 31,000-square-foot facility in Mesa and Medivant, a new generic drug manufacturer headquartered in Chandler.
“I think we started asking ourselves, ‘Why are we relying on China for PPE or generic pharmaceuticals or defense-critical minerals?'” she said, noting that she would support tax incentives to bring home manufacturing jobs from China.
At ECoNA, we’ve noted an uptick this past quarter in manufacturers looking at sites in northern Arizona for their facilities. Second quarter numbers show 65% of the new business inquiries to our region were from manufacturers.
We are grateful to the Senator for taking time to talk with us about the pandemic and efforts to make our recovery more robust.