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Arizona’s Quiet Comeback by Sen. Al Melvin

If you follow coverage of the economy in the U.S. and around the world, you know there is much hand-wringing that we could fall into another recession.Europe can’t seem to work its way out of a debt crisis, and here at home, the only response from the Obama Administration seems to be throwing more money at the problem.

Here in Arizona, we’ve handled things much differently. Republican leadership in the Legislature joined with the Governor in focusing on a balanced budget, with reasonable reductions to state agencies and tax cuts to reinvigorate the economy. While many states chose to raise taxes, and some have done little to reduce their deficits, we chose to live within our means, and spend only money that we have in our account.

Well, we are now seeing the results of those difficult decisions, and Arizona is making a strong economic comeback. This isn’t political spin. It’s based on numbers in monthly reports from non-partisan sources. For whatever reason, you don’t see these reports in the media, so I wanted to share them with you now.

Arizona is growing jobs faster than just about any state in the country. A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows only 20 states grew jobs in August. Arizona came in 2nd, with 15,400 new jobs. Not only that, the only reason Minnesota placed ahead of us was because of rehiring workers after a government shutdown. In reality, Arizona is number one in job growth in the U.S.

I see it firsthand, talking to the people who create jobs in southern Arizona. Many companies are looking for people to hire. Trucking, mining and financial service firms are hiring hundreds of new employees.

Moody’s Analytics, an economic consulting firm, likes the look of Arizona going forward. Its study released in late September predicts our state to grow jobs by 1.2%, one of the best numbers in America.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee just released its fiscal summary for August, and revenues are 8.6% above the previous year. General Fund collections are $44.2 million above this year’s budget forecast. Unlike many states, Arizona is growing.

And the news is likely to get better in Arizona. The Arizona Competitiveness Package signed into law this spring puts large and small companies in an outstanding position to expand operations and hire workers. Our first priority is to help existing businesses who are already employing Arizonans. We will then do our best to attract companies to come here from other states and countries. Make no doubt about it: firms now know Arizona is “open for business”, and we are all going to benefit.

The past couple years have been difficult, and we have made some tough decisions on cuts in spending. Because we bit the bullet and didn’t delay, the days of large cuts are behind us. And as these encouraging economic numbers continue to come in, I am convinced we made the right call.

Legislators are already working on some exciting proposals for next session, including a new jobs bill and the Small Business Job Creation Act. The Republican legislature is committed to making Arizona a safe haven for our businesses and our people through small government, with lower taxes and fewer regulations. This legislature is pro-business. We know people need jobs for their lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness, as was intended by our nation’s founders.

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