Guest Editorial: Is My Arizona Getting California’ed?

By Alexander Lomax

Gov. Ducey hasn’t been shy about trying to make the case that Californians should flee their state and come to Arizona. The benefit is not just natural economic stimulus, but also presumably serves to try to stem the dramatic shift of his state towards Democrats with California Republican imports who are sick of the excesses of their state. Now Ducey is taking the ball to their court with a recent op-ed in the Orange County Register.

I’ll be honest: as a liberal, part of me wants to hate and deride this. But I think it’s reasonably smart. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not misguided, however. Let me explain…

Arizona border welcome sign on Interstate-10 Highway, Chihuahuan Desert, Arizona, USA.

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone “on the left” sees California as a haven for good governance, but sometimes for different reasons. I don’t think that too many of us will shed tears over higher tax rates on high-income earners, as demonstrated by our support of our own Proposition 208.

However, fiscal moderates have long been taken aback by the state’s fiscal issues. Criminal justice advocates have long taken issue with their overcrowded system and lack of support for rehabilitation and treatment services. Governor Newsom’s approach to reducing the spread of Covid seemed forward-thinking and necessary at the outset of the outbreak when we were still trying to understand the virus. Now that we know more, we see a number of stipulations that are unnecessary and not rooted in efficacy or scientific principles, and a Governor who can’t follow his own regulations. The result has been the 2nd highest infection rate out of all of the states. Burdensome without cause and with poor results is not anything that we liberals are clamoring for.

Many of us towards the left understand that California is no shangri-la, but we also need to be honest with ourselves: neither is Arizona. Our state has no competitive advantage other than the sun, which serves as a disadvantage for at least 1/3rd of the year. If a Californian wants to flee high taxes, it’s tough to get lower than Nevada and Washington, which both have no state income tax. If you’re looking to relocate a business, our talent pool has been impacted by our educational struggles, and that secret is out. For retirees, living here in the summer is still far from optimal, and global warming implies that that window of beautiful weather will continue to shrink in the future. And that’s not even addressing water issues, which may choke us into irrelevance over the next few generations.

I actually applaud Governor Ducey for being creative in his attempts to recruit money and talent to our state. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t come with a heavy dose of eye rolls, and not just from Californians.