The Arizona Center for Economic Progress is a leader in advancing policies that create fairer tax codes which raise the revenue needed to invest in education, affordable housing, health care, infrastructure and other supports needed to build thriving communities and better economic opportunities for all Arizonans.


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Our impact

You can find us in Arizona communities alongside grassroots organizations fighting for equity and economic justice; in the halls of the government advocating for policy change that removes barriers to getting ahead; and producing key data-driven insights and the latest research to share with advocates, lawmakers, media and Arizona voters.

Our Recent Successes

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Advancing legislation to slow the growth of corporate tax credits and preventing millions of public tax dollars from being diverted from public to private schools.

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Achieving millions in new annual revenue for Arizona’s public schools and a fairer state tax code through the passage of a ballot initiative establishing an income tax surcharge on the wealthiest Arizonans.

The Center is the only statewide organization that represents authentic voices and working families in the public conversation about Arizona’s economic roadmap. The Center is moving a new and necessary perspective to influence elected leaders and policy advisors.

Luis A. Heredia
Executive Director, Arizona Education Association

The Arizona Center for Economic Progress is an incredibly valuable resource for all Arizonans. The Center provides thorough, easy to understand fact sheets, charts and reports that get to the heart of important issues we face.

Rebecca Gau
Executive Director, Stand for Children Arizona

I always turn to the AZ Center for Economic Progress to ensure that I can fully understand how and from where AZ is deriving its revenue & how such is spent, as the information is made intelligible for people like me via charts and graphs. Thus the Center has been my 'go to source' for clear objective information about public education and taxes.

Rivko Knox
The League of Women Voters of Arizona

Our team

JoAnna Mendoza

Executive Director

JoAnna Mendoza is a retired US Marine Veteran, government and political affairs professional, and servant leader. After retiring from the Marine Corps, JoAnna worked for a foster licensing agency contracted by the State of Arizona to find homes for children in foster care and developmental homes for children and adults with special needs. A few years later, JoAnna transitioned to working with vulnerable veterans and found her way to serving in government again, as a Veteran Service Representative and the Deputy District Director for a Member of Congress from the Arizona Congressional Delegation.
JoAnna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Intelligence Studies, a Master’s of Science in Leadership with an emphasis in disaster preparedness, a Public Leadership Credential from Executive Education at Harvard Kennedy School, a Brand Management Certificate from Cornell, and a Professional Certificate in Social Media Management from Georgetown.


Sarah Bentley

Communications Engagement Coordinator

As the Communications Engagement Coordinator of Children’s Action Alliance and The Arizona Center for Economic Progress, Sarah leads both state and federal advocacy outreach for issues like the Aggregate Expenditure Limit (AEL) school spending cap, and Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML). Prior to joining the team, she worked as a Public Affairs Executive at Rose Allyn Public Relations where she specialized in crisis control, event management, and investor relations. During the pandemic, Sarah served as a Policy Intern for Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego where she handled constituent concerns and community outreach. Sarah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Service and Public Policy as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Sustainability from Arizona State University. She is excited to use her experience in community engagement to advance the mission and policy agenda of CAA and the AZCenter.

Karen Mclaughlin

Karen McLaughlin, MPA

Director of Fiscal Policy

Karen McLaughlin is the Director of Fiscal Analysis for Children’s Action Alliance and the Arizona Center for Economic Progress. She provides leadership on the state budget and tax issues. Prior to joining CAA in 2005, Karen held various positions with the State of Arizona, including analyst with the Governor’s Office and Strategic Planning and Budgeting and the Financial Services Administrator for the Arizona Department of Economic Security. She earned her Master’s in Public Administration from Arizona State University.


Geraldine Miranda

Economic Policy Analyst

Geraldine advances the Arizona Center for Economic Progress’ work by advocating for a sound fiscal policy through budget and tax-related projects. She joins the AZCenter after serving as a Senior Paralegal for Community Legal Services where she provided legal assistance and administrative hearing representation to Arizonans facing adverse Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, and Social Security disability benefit eligibility and overpayment determinations. Geraldine holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree in International Politics with a certification in Asian Studies from Georgetown University.


Luisa Santos Martinez

Digital Stategist


Franklin Zyriek

Economic Policy Analyst

Franklin joins the Arizona Center for Economic Progress after serving as a legislative correspondent in Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s Office. In that role, he worked on energy, environmental, public lands, and Tribal issues and supported Senator Sinema’s actions on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Franklin grew up in Tempe and is a proud product of Arizona’s public K-12 schools. He earned his Master’s in Public Policy degree from American University as well as a B.A. in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government and a Certificate in Advanced Leadership Studies from AU. Other previous roles include serving as a deputy field organizer for the Biden presidential campaign in Iowa and graduate legislative intern in Salt River Project’s federal affairs office in D.C.

Let’s raise the economic power of all Arizonans