Last Thursday, Tim Bee presented a legislative wrap-up to the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

He singled out several accomplishments of the state legislature that included raising the felony charge for teachers engaging in sexual contact with their students, easing school transfer requirements for children with parents in the military and offering tax credits for research and development.

The Arizona State Senate president will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in November’s District 8 congressional race.

Bee’s campaign recently received an endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Bee mentioned the need to invest in science and technology, but not have businesses depend on subsidies.

“If government subsidies go away, they usually collapse,” Bee said.

Arizona House Speaker Rep. Jim Weiers, who also spoke before the Tucson chamber, echoed Bee’s sentiments about government aid to businesses.

“Subsidies do nothing for the economy,” Weiers said.

The university system may seem like the most attractive draw to the area, but it ultimately comes down to whether a business can make money in the area, the speaker noted.

One of the major issues facing businesses is the Employee Free Choice Act.

The measure would change the way unions are formed. The act would require union leaders to get the signatures from at least half of a company’s workers, a process known as a card-check, moving away from the current system of having a private election supervised by a federal board.

Bee is against the measure, saying that if the Employee Free Choice Act were passed people could be coerced and threatened into joining unions.

A key issue in Southern Arizona is the future of spring training in the area.

Bee believes “more likely than not” that the Regional Sports Authority will get its bill heard before the Legislature, either in a special legislative session this fall or early in 2009.

“Businesses made clear that they want to continue to have the teams here,” he said.

The most important issues for the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce revolve around taxes and health care.

Accessible health care for small businesses and the state’s lack of doctors are also important to the chamber.

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