Arizona unwrapped an early present this week with news that our state’s population count has eclipsed Massachusetts and has moved into the number 14 slot nationally.
People and businesses vote with their feet. If your state is growing, it’s a decent indication that your state is doing something right. Arizona is making the right moves.
There are a number of well-meaning and effective economic development strategies here and in other states focused on certain industries or sectors, but policymakers’ first goal should be to get the fundamentals right: keep taxes low and regulatory burdens light; cultivate a labor environment that encourages employment growth; a legal environment that discourages frivolous lawsuits and litigation; and an education environment that values competition, choice and results.
The latest population figures show that Arizona is getting the basics right. The on-time delivery of several phased-in tax reductions, a regulatory moratorium, a commitment by Gov. Ducey and the Legislature to encourage emerging industries from ridesharing to microbrewing to crowdfunding to speedier lab tests, and a commitment to meaningful tort reform are all positioning Arizona to move up the growth charts. And with the state on the brink of making a major move on education to complement our outstanding school choice model, states like Virginia and Washington should be checking their rearview mirrors. The state we just passed on the growth ladder? It’s derided as Taxachusetts, which tells you all you need to know.
Let’s make cracking the population Top 10 our state’s next audacious goal. This isn’t about growth for growth’s sake. Instead, growth is our best indicator of whether our policies are properly calibrated to bring more jobs to Arizona.