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Arizona Bucks Government’s Heavy Hand—and Americans Are Moving There in Droves

April 12, 2022

High unemployment. Overregulation. Crippling taxation. It’s the same old story in too many states—a challenging economic climate is made worse by the heavy hand of government. But Arizona’s chosen a different path: It’s adopted the Goldwater Institute’s vision of getting government out of the way, allowing people to shape their own destinies, and empowering people to live freer, happier lives.

Now—not surprisingly—recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that Arizona is attracting new residents in huge numbers.

According to the Census data, between 2020 and 2021, the Phoenix area was the region that saw the greatest number of people moving there from somewhere else in the country. The areas with the biggest population losses to other parts of the country? New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago (which pretty much reads like a list of how not to govern…).

In the metro areas Americans are fleeing, residents face a high cost of living and high income tax rates. And over the past two years, those cities enacted heavy COVID restrictions that caused the permanent shuttering of restaurants, stores, and other businesses, unnecessarily exacerbating economic suffering for business owners and making life in these cities less appealing. When faced with high costs in their own cities and the benefits of other locales, it’s not surprising that many Americans are deciding they’ve had enough and opting to move.

It’s no wonder so many Americans are flocking to the Grand Canyon State. It’s home to the lowest flat income tax rate in America, passed in 2021 with Goldwater’s help, saving Arizonans hundreds of millions of dollars, simplifying the state’s tax code, and giving a needed leg-up to small business owners still struggling from the aftereffects of the government’s response to the COVID pandemic.

And just weeks ago, the Goldwater Institute drove a stake through the heart of Proposition 208, which would have been the largest tax hike in state history. Not only would Prop 208 have cost the state more than 100,000 jobs, it also violated the state Constitution’s restrictions on spending and taxation—and so Goldwater filed a lawsuit to strike it down. The courts sided with us, and as a result, taxpayers won’t have to take on this huge and damaging burden—and Arizona will continue its reputation among states as the national example for cost-efficient government.

Arizona is also blazing a trail in tearing down the unnecessary regulations that keep countless Americans from working in the job of their choice. It was the first state in the country to pass Goldwater’s Breaking Down Barriers to Work law—meaning that if you already hold an occupational license in another state and have been practicing in good standing there for at least one year, Arizona will now recognize your license if you move there. To date, nearly 4,000 Arizonans have benefited from the law and are now free to work.

The new Census data shows that Arizona, whose population has been growing for years, continues to attract new residents. That should come as no shock to anyone: While other states like neighboring California are putting up roadblocks to a bright economic future for their residents, Arizona is providing a great blueprint for how to build a stronger economy that works for its people.

Jennifer Tiedemann is the Deputy Director of Communications at the Goldwater Institute.



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