The Greatest Chapter Yet

by | May 30, 2017

Phoenix Mayor Greg StantonPhoenix is writing the greatest chapter in our city’s history.

That was the message of my sixth State of the City address. Working together we are fueling that spirit of ingenuity and innovation that defined the greatest moments throughout our city’s and our state’s history.

You can see it all around us. With our pivot toward an innovation-driven economy, a complete turnaround on sustainability, improved trade relations with Mexico, transformative investments in transit and a full-blown renaissance Downtown, Phoenix is stronger than ever.

We know that innovation breeds innovation, and our investments in a 21st century economy are paying dividends. The biosciences are thriving, and the number of tech companies downtown has quadrupled from 67 five years ago to more than 273 now. Creative companies are flocking to our once-forgotten Warehouse District, including
coding education giant Galvanize, which partnered with Phoenix to renovate a massive warehouse for its new campus, as well as space for more than 75 start-up companies.

Investments in transit have spurred our economy, which will only increase as Phoenix implements voter-approved expansions from Proposition 104. The residents of South Phoenix will be the next to benefit with the new five-mile South Central line.

Phoenix has also experienced a remarkable turnaround on sustainability and climate resilience behind ambitious 2050 goals to become a zero-waste, carbon-neutral city. Our 50-acre Resource Innovation Campus will soon empower local entrepreneurs and manufacturers to turn materials bound for the landfill into new products as part of a broad circular economy strategy. And our new one-of-a-kind composting facility will do the same thing, processing tons of compostable waste into fertilizer that can be re-sold.

The word is getting out. Forbes, Fortune, the New York Times and USA Today have all recently pointed to Phoenix as a rising community for tech and entrepreneurship. Additionally, in May three of the nation’s most influential credit and bonding agencies – Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s – all lauded Phoenix for its economic diversification, robust growth and strong fundamentals.

Here is what Fitch had to say: “Phoenix is again solidly on a growth track. Recent expansion in higher education, healthcare and technology reflect a rapidly diversifying economy that should be better positioned to withstand future periods of economic weakness.”

That is music to a Mayor’s ears.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have challenges. We do. We had to overcome a collapsed economy when I took office. And we had to rebuild our state’s strained relations with Mexico in the wake of Senate Bill 1070. But now exports to Mexico support more than 110,000 jobs in Arizona, with the potential for many more. Mexican consumers and tourists are now returning to Arizona, and Mexican companies are re-investing and creating jobs here.

I concluded my State of the City Speech by challenging business leaders to help address our state’s most pressing economic issue: The crisis caused by our lack of investment in public schools. I called for their support to renew and increase Proposition 301, which will a $600 million cliff for public school funding if Arizona voters don’t act before 2020. We must be brave enough to ask for more for our kids. The time to get it done is now.

Phoenix has a lot to be proud of, and we will continue to succeed if we hold true to these values: Everyone is welcome, and anyone can make it here. I am more optimistic than ever that we are on the right track, and Phoenix will continue writing the greatest chapter in our history.

-Phoenix Mayor, Greg Stanton