As Arizona’s elected leaders labor over policies and budgets that are intended to set the stage for a strong economic future, we must all remember what has been the cornerstone of our state and the true key to long-term prosperity: a high quality education system.

For two years now, Expect More Arizona has been championing the perspective that education must be viewed as an investment, not an expense. The statewide partners have worked diligently to raise public awareness about the critical importance of improving education in our state, linking it directly to our economic growth and quality of life. Not surprisingly, research, ballot initiatives and public opinion consistently show it’s a viewpoint fully embraced by Arizona voters and businesses alike.

Without question, the leaders in our state are faced with some difficult choices as they work to close the enormous divide between our state’s revenues and expenses. However, as someone who has led successful businesses, I know that during challenging economic times you have to make strategic cuts as well as identify ways to generate new resources.

Expect More Arizona has now joined with the O’Connor House on the nonpartisan initiative, The Arizona Education Commitment. Their goal is to elevate the fact that Arizona’s founding fathers believed so strongly in providing a strong education system that they wrote it into our constitution. As a result, their request to Arizona’s leaders is to make it a priority too, by doing what any good business would do, make thoughtful, non-damaging cuts while enhancing revenues.

Join me and other business and community leaders by supporting this initiative and signing on at

Vince Roig is Chairman of Helios Education Foundation.

Note:  This article appeared in the February 18, 2011 print issue of The Phoenix Business Journal.