Pro golfer Phil Mickelson brought up an important issue that many people around the nation are facing today - they are being overtaxed and essentially penalized for their success in life.
While Mickelson did not explicitly state that the "drastic change" he is considering would be moving out of California, I simply wanted to highlight (in a press release last week) some of the reasons why Arizona would be a great place for him and his family to live.
• Aside from lower income tax rates, Arizona is the No. 1 state for business startups and No. 4 for job creation.
• For overall professional business environment, Arizona is ranked No. 10; California ranks dead last in this category.
• In fact, the Arizona Commerce Authority has opened offices in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles in an effort to attract businesses to Arizona, where they will have the opportunity to thrive.
• Our school system is outstanding. We have more school choice than any other state in the nation.
• We have open enrollment between school districts, tuition tax credits and a stellar home-school program.
• We have more charter schools per capita than any other state, including award-winning charter schools such as Basis and Sonoran Science Academy.
• Our exceptional school system ensures that students are prepared to pursue their future educational and career goals.
Arizona is a great place for business growth because of our educated workforce. Take a look at these facts gathered by the Arizona Commerce Authority:
• Fourth in bachelor's degrees conferred per 1,000 individuals 18 to 24 years old (National Science Foundation, 2007).
• Eighth in science and engineer doctorates conferred per 1,000 employed science and engineer doctorate holders (National Science Foundation, 2006).
• 11th in patents (ITIF-Kauffman, 2010).
• Seventh in patents awarded per 1,000 individuals in science and engineering occupations (National Science Foundation, 2010).
• 10th in risk-capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure (Milken Institute, 2008).
• 10th in technology concentration and dynamism (Milken Institute, 2010).
There is much evidence that Arizona has a strong structure in education, but for whatever reason those inside the educational community feel compelled to deny the facts and play into the image of our state having an unfunded and failing education system.
In her clumsy commentary on Jan. 24, Sarah Gassen made an out-of-left-field reference to our efforts to recycle nuclear fuel in Arizona. The goal is to provide plentiful, reliable and affordable electricity through nuclear energy for desalination plants to ensure Arizona's future water supply. This cannot be done with solar or wind energy, so it is vital we continue to recycle nuclear fuel.
In short: California is the land of bloated government; sky-high taxes; burdensome, job-killing regulations; and an unmanageable, unbalanced state budget. Republicans in the Arizona Legislature have right-sized government, lowered taxes and promoted jobs by ending regulations, and we have a balanced budget.
We welcome Phil Mickelson to return to Arizona, where he will not be penalized for his success in life.
State Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, is chairman of the Senate Commerce, Energy and Military Committee.