By Martin Sepulveda
The road to economic growth and fiscal sustainability is paved with lower taxes, a balanced budget and a less intrusive regulatory environment. When these conditions are met, the private sector can flourish and create jobs.
Arizona is blessed with five C’s: copper, cattle, cotton, citrus and climate. The first C, copper, was a critical engine of growth throughout Arizona’s history. In recent years, however, the weight of excessive federal regulation crushed growth in this industry.
But this can change. The Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conversation Act of 2013 is a great first step. The bill – sponsored by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) – authorizes the construction of an underground copper mine in Superior, Arizona through a land exchange. The economic impact of this mine is staggering.
The mine will create approximately 3,000 construction jobs over an initial six to ten year period. Then, once the mine is fully operational, it will employ more than 3,700 people. These are high-paying jobs that range from $40,000 to $120,000 annually in an area of the state that is particularly suffering economically.
The total economic impact of the mine on the state of Arizona is estimated at $61.4 billion. That means more than $1 billion per year over the life span of the mine. Additionally, the mine will generate almost $20 billion in federal, state, county and local tax revenue.
In order to be successful, Arizona must create new jobs and attract industries that may not have a significant presence in Arizona while continuing to develop the industries that helped make our state great. We have a unique opportunity to create real net new sustainable employment, now it’s time to leverage it.
Martin Sepulveda is a small business owner, veteran, former Chandler City Councilman and a republican candidate for Arizona State Treasurer in 2014.