The hope and vision that we should have for our beloved Arizona would accentuate the positivity of our people, our splendid scenery and our wonderful weather. To wit, instead of our lawmakers fixating on having some of the lowest tax rates in the country, how about aiming for goals that would elevate us into the top 10 percent of all states in areas that improved our overall quality of life?
Being able to brag about our sunshine is good, but being in the top five in the U.S. in educational achievement and funding, transportation infrastructure, social services, prison reform, health care, money for law enforcement, accessibility and affordability of higher education, economic development, etc. would be far better and more prideful things to boast about.
Quality of life issues take money to achieve, but they can return significant benefits to those willing to invest in their initial costs. State lawmakers have been traditionally myopic and miserly when it comes to financially investing in our future. Perhaps it’s time for voters to elect decision makers that can be bold and bipartisan so as to place our state in a position of leadership when it comes to quality of life issues.
Past Arizona leaders like Barry Goldwater, John J. Rhodes, Morris Udall, Bruce Babbitt, Burton Barr, Rose Mofford, and the recently departed Eddie Basha, all understood that a relatively small amount of funds acquired and spent wisely today could and would pay big dividends tomorrow.
Where are the dreamers and doers of yesteryear today in our state?
In a nutshell, some revenue enhancers (yes, that’s a euphemism for a tax increase!) on items such as beer, liquor, tobacco, lottery tickets, cell phones, tickets to sporting events, movies, cable and satellite television, and even golf would assist us in funding quality of life issues that would benefit nearly all Arizonans. If only our decision makers were as concerned with increasing our quality or life issues as they seem to be with keeping our taxes low and/or getting re-elected.
Boldness, intelligence, and vision are the attributes we need from our current crop of lawmakers; unfortunately, money isn’t the only thing they have in short supply.
Richard K. Meszar