When Gov. Janet Napolitano was replaced by the finger-wagging Jan Brewer following Napolitano’s appointment to become Director of Homeland Security in 2009, the last check on Arizona’s right wing-dominated legislature was eliminated. That led to such bills as the anti-immigrant SB 1070; bills that made it legal to carry guns in bars; bills that protected guns, not people; bills that cut tens of millions from public schools while cutting taxes for corporations.
All the while, the right wing legislators claimed that their top priority was job creation.
Therefore, it seems fair to judge their efforts by looking at the jobs created in Arizona compared to the rest of the nation. Since the end of the Great Recession, the US has regained 77 percent of the jobs lost according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Over the same period, Arizona has recovered just 46 percent of the jobs lost. Despite being one of the states hardest hit by the recession, Arizona ranks just 44th in job creation since February 2010.
The statistics show that Arizona has recovered just 66 percent of jobs lost by the information industry, 40 percent of those lost in professional and business services, 34 percent in other services, 32 percent in trade, transportation and utilities, 29 percent in government, and just 27 percent in manufacturing.
How can that be?
According to Teapublican legislators, the best way to create jobs is to cut taxes. Yet Arizona’s corporate taxes are among the very lowest in the nation. They also claimed that SB 1070 would allow Arizona citizens to reclaim jobs from undocumented workers. Somehow, they believed that chasing tens of thousands of immigrants from the state who rent homes, purchase cars, buy groceries and buy clothes would improve the state’s economy.
Apparently they also believe that outlawing a Latino studies program in the Tucson school district, eliminating the poor from Medicaid, attacking the federal government, cutting school budgets, redirecting money to private schools and private prisons, closing rest stops, closing state parks, demanding further proof of Obama’s citizenship, and telling the world that Arizona is unsafe, would entice tourists and sophisticated corporations to come here.
Maybe, just maybe, the right is wrong.