Eeyore would feel right at home in Tucson. Arizona's second city has become a rather gloomy place.
Tucson policymakers fear Tucson lacks a "vibrant core" and will never attract creative class workers that supposedly drive economic growth. If only we were more like Austin, they opine.
According to the Tucson Citizen, the Texas capitol has "rhythm and synergy;" it has a cool music scene, a hip downtown. All true, but if the goal is economic growth and jobs, Tucson is doing more things right than Austin.
Entrepreneurs, not hot nightclubs, generate economic growth. And entrepreneurs want affordable housing, cheap electricity, safe neighborhoods, low taxes and few government regulations.
Tucson fits this bill. According to Ã”Ã¶Â¼â”œÃInc. Magazine's 2006 Best Cities for Doing Business ranking, Tucson ranks 60. Austin came in 173, behind such boomtowns as Amarillo, Des Moines and Rochester.
Austin is actually losing population while Tucson's is growing. And Austin's economic centerpiece, a new Samsung microchip plant, only happened after the city, county and state committed to give the electronics giant $233 million.
This is no model. Tucson can improve its economic outlook by lowering the city's sales and property taxes and streamlining the business licensing process. This would give the city more energy than even the best espresso café.
Noah Clarke is an economist with the Goldwater Institute Center for Economic Prosperity.