Leaving California? Don’t forget why!

By DOUG DUCEY, Governor of Arizona, last updated 3-14-2021

PUBLISHED: March 8, 2021 at 12:28 p.m. | UPDATED: March 14, 2021 at 1:44 p.m.

For generations of Americans, California represented the American dream with its majestic landscape and coastal views. It’s the state that brought us Hollywood, the Beach Boys, Disneyland and Ronald Reagan.

Today, we see something very different coming out of California. Largely, policies that are crushing small businesses and families, and pushing people and jobs out of the state at a record rate. The pandemic has made things worse, but the Golden State’s luster wore off some time ago.

In my second State of the State address here in the Grand Canyon State, I thanked my partner in growing Arizona’s economy: California Gov. Jerry Brown. It was in jest, but still, based on the facts.

We see them all the time in our state. Californians who have had enough.

Enough of the burdensome policies that are driving businesses away.

Enough of the skyrocketing costs that have put the American dream out of reach for far too many.

Enough of the silly, politically correct obsessions from elected leaders who should be focused on more important things.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are states that work to keep costs low on people and businesses. States that don’t believe government is the answer to every problem. States that embrace new ideas while respecting our history. I should know. Arizona is one of them.

Here in Arizona, I’ve made it my mission to make and keep our state the best place in the nation to get an education, raise a family, start and scale a business and retire.

Last year, Arizona gained nearly 130,000 new residents — the second-fastest growth rate in the nation. California, by contrast, lost nearly 70,000 people.

Why are people choosing to pick up and leave one of America’s most beautiful states?

Well, consider these facts:

  • The cost of living in the Los Angeles metropolitan area is nearly twice that of Phoenix.
  • The cost of buying a home in L.A. is double that of places like Phoenix or Tucson; for San Francisco, it’s three times as much.
  • For residential households, the cost of energy in California is double what you’d pay in Arizona. For industry, energy costs are nearly three times higher in California.
  • Even traffic is worse in California, which boasts three of the nation’s top five worst cities for traffic congestion.

These outcomes don’t happen by accident. They are the result of misguided policies and misplaced priorities. Overregulation. Ever-increasing taxes. Nonstop political correctness.

Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than the fact that instead of working to get kids back into the classroom, one of California’s largest school districts is focused on erasing historic figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

I sympathize with the many Golden Staters who shake their heads at this nonsense.

It’s no wonder, then, why so many people — and businesses — are looking to get out.

Since 2017, more than 30 California companies have moved or expanded to Arizona, including Weebly, Zenefits, Symantec, Apple, Align Technologies, CP Technologies, Lucid, McKesson, Silicon Valley Bank and more.

In Arizona, we still value common sense. We believe in trusting people with the tools needed to thrive, then standing back and getting out of their way.  We believe in fiscal responsibility. And we believe the American dream should be available to everyone, not just the ultrawealthy.

So if you’re considering Arizona as your potential new home, know you won’t be alone. More than 70% of our adults were born elsewhere.

We ask just one thing when you do make the jump: Please, don’t forget why you left in the first place.

Doug Ducey is the governor of Arizona.

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