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Study cites education as No. 1 challenge to conducting business in Arizona

PHOENIX — Education is the biggest concern for professionals looking to conduct business in Arizona, according to a recent study from Alliance Bank.

Alliance Bank asked 400 executives about the benefits and challenges of doing business in Arizona, finding education is a main business concern due to job readiness, followed by the quality and availability of the available workforce.

Business officials also marked increasing funding for K-12 public schools as the No. 1 priority for local and state governments.

Jim Lundy, president and CEO of Alliance Bank, said the survey points out “clear priorities” of the state that need to be addressed.

“Our state has a rich history of achievement driven by ingenuity and hard work, however this study reiterates that we still have work to do,” he said in the release.

In the release, Lundy also announced the bank’s support for Proposition 123, which would increase the amount taken out of the state land trust funds to schools, universities and other public institutions from 2.5 percent of the funds to 6.9 percent for the next ten years.

“Smart investment in education will have real-time impact on Arizona businesses,” the release read. “That’s why Alliance Bank of Arizona supports Prop 123, a much-needed first step that does not raise taxes and systematically uses the state’s land trust to make a significant investment in K-12 education over the next 10 years.”

More than 61 study participants said they believed increasing the state’s number of STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — graduates would have a positive impact on both business and the state’s image.

Sharon Harper, campaign chair for Proposition 123, said there is a strong link between education and the economy.

“State leaders, business owners, parents and teachers recognize the link between education and the economy, and this latest survey only reinforces this link,” she said in the release. “Arizona is currently near the bottom in per-pupil spending. Prop 123 will propel Arizona on a path to better enable its students to be prepared for their careers after K-12 education.”

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