Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Private sector key to restoring Az greatness


John F. Munger

Imagine if Arizona were the nation’s small-business engine, creating high-paying jobs that will keep our kids in Arizona and our families prosperous.

Imagine the news media featuring Arizona’s schools as the best in the nation, and discussing how other states could be like Arizona.

Imagine our universities thriving instead of being starved for sufficient funds to educate our future leaders.

Imagine a health care system that is affordable for all, even small businesses that need every dollar to get started.

Imagine an efficient transportation system that zips us quickly to and from work.

Imagine protecting our natural resources for future generations while still meeting the needs of thousands of people and businesses who move to Arizona.

When you imagine what Arizona can be – what you want it to be – suddenly our political priorities become clear.

To turn our dreams into reality, we must look beyond the usual, tired formulas of just bigger government and more taxes that will only drain taxpayers’ resources during an economic crisis.

Instead, we must do three things.

First, we must free ourselves to think boldly and imagine what Arizona can be at its very best.

Second, we must return to what has always made Arizona great: reliance on our ability to build a better life while preserving Arizona’s unique beauty and quality of life.

We must grow ourselves out of recession and rebuild Arizona into the economic powerhouse it once was.

That means conducting a complete re-evaluation of state regulations and taxes to see which are effective and which are destroying family businesses and high-tech growth.

State and local leaders and agencies must proactively support private projects that will result in new jobs, especially new investment and businesses in solar, wind and other new energy technologies.

Third, in seeking solutions to our public infrastructure problems, we must look beyond the government solutions that have kept us in continual traffic and fiscal jams.

Many transportation, water, and other infrastructure projects can be achieved quickly and more efficiently by tapping private ingenuity and investment rather than by raising taxes.

It is ironic that, in doing so, Arizona can replenish its coffers so it can better perform those responsibilities which only the state can perform.

Our most important state investment should be cutting-edge reform of K-12 education; paying great salaries to great teachers, especially in poor areas; empowering local school principals and our parents; and maintaining accountability of those in charge of our children and their success.

The past formulas of bigger government will create neither wealth nor the solutions to Arizona’s problems; but individual Arizonans everywhere can and will create broad-based wealth if the state works with people rather than against them.

John F. Munger is a former president of the Arizona Board of Regents, chairman of the Arizona Republican Party and currently is chairman of ImagineArizona, a political action committee dedicated to promoting innovative solutions to Arizona’s public policy issues.

Many transportation, water, and other infrastructure projects can be achieved quickly and more efficiently by tapping private ingenuity and investment rather than by raising taxes.

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