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Opportunity Awaits: Here’s How Americans Are Finding the Economic Freedom They Crave

June 2, 2022

“Brace yourself” for an economic “hurricane,” says JPMorgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon, who recently weighed in on the daunting economic headwinds looming just over America’s horizon. With that kind of forecast, is it any wonder people are moving to places where they have the best economic opportunity?

Americans are moving to states that are open for business—states like Arizona, which has adopted the Goldwater Institute’s vision of getting government out of the way and empowering people to shape their own destinies. 

The numbers bear this out. Case in point: a new Common Sense Institute study projects that Goldwater’s first-in-the-nation 2019 reform to break down barriers to work in Arizona will increase the state’s population by at least 44,376 people by 2030. Since then, Goldwater has passed the reform in more than 20 states—including three just in the first half of 2022 alone.

Today, nearly one in four jobs requires an occupational license—a permission slip from the government. And when a licensed professional moves from one state to the next, they are often forced to go through the costly and time-consuming licensing process all over again. But Goldwater’s Breaking Down Barriers to Work law makes it easier for Americans to continue to work by ensuring their professional licenses are universally recognized when they move to a new state.

In Arizona, Goldwater’s reform is working precisely as intended, empowering thousands and thousands of people to exercise their right to earn a living. And the best is yet to come, The Center Square reports:

The study projects that the law will continue to help Arizona’s economy in the coming years. It says that over the next 10 years that the law will increase Arizona’s employment by at least 15,991 workers. It also says that this will increase the state’s population by at least 44,376 people and increase the state’s Gross Domestic Product by at least $1.5 billion. 

“If someone has been safely and productively practicing their occupation in another state or in the military, they can safely and productively practice it here,” Goldwater Director of National Litigation Jon Riches wrote in a 2019 policy report. “That is, you don’t forget how to cut hair when you move from one state to another. You don’t forget how to sell a house, or run wire, or care for patients.”

Amid today’s uncertain economic times, lawmakers should take note and act accordingly: residents have shown that they’re willing to leave states with high taxes and endless government regulations if moving means more economic opportunity. Last month, for instance, the California Department of Finance reported a net population decrease of 117,552 residents in 2021—the second consecutive year that the state’s population dropped.

As inflation balloons, gas prices skyrocket, and supply chain shortages drag on, Americans will only continue packing their bags for states where economic opportunity awaits.

You can find out more about Goldwater’s Breaking Down Barriers to Work Reform here.



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