1. Protecting public land.
More than 40 percent of Arizona is available for your exploration pleasure, bringing in tons of tourism revenue and protecting thousands of plant and animal species.
2. Channeling solar power.
We could harness it more, much more, but we offer rebates, tax breaks, and other incentives to homes and businesses to switch to sunshine-made energy. We’re already #2 in the US for solar-powered electricity generation; #1 is easily within reach. (Of course, we have the Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station cranking out more electricity than any other generator in the country, but that’s another topic.)
3. Cooperating with our neighbor to the south.
Mexico is Arizona’s top trade partner — it’s where 40 percent of our exports go. It’s a reciprocal arrangement because so many Arizonans vacation on the relatively nearby Mexican beaches.
4. Giving squatters a place to live.
If a private property is neglected for as little as two years, a so-called “trespasser” willing to live in it, improve it, and pay taxes can claim it as their own.
5. Workers have the right to be ill.
Smaller businesses have to give their employees 24 hours of paid sick leave per year while businesses with 15 or more workers must give 40. Plus, we just raised the minimum wage to $10 an hour, which makes a huge difference to a lot of families.
6. An avid passion for outer space.
We found Pluto, launched NASA’s first Mars scout, and have the largest solar telescope in the world. Lots of areas ban light pollution to maintain our astronomers’ paradise.
7. Engaging in other science, too.
We host mad coding and robotics competitions, and Biosphere 2 (the biggest enclosed ecosystem/city thing ever created) is down by Tucson.
8. Caring for our extensive and fascinating history!
We preserve deco billboards, ghost towns, petroglyphs, and midcentury buildings. We reenact gun fights and house at least two living history museums (thousands, if you count retirement homes).
9. Making and drinking vino! And cerveza!
The Grand Canyon State has 86 beer breweries (another one just opened while I was writing this) and grow some 30 grape varietals, mostly of European origin. We even legalized distilleries, as long as you’ve registered your still.
10. Playing, watching, and investing in sports.
Not only is Spring Training kind of a big deal here, but we have about 300 golf courses, a surprisingly amazing ice hockey team, a long heritage of Final Four basketball appearances, we drive race cars real fast, and host the Super Bowl every once in a while. Thousands of hiking trails wind through the state’s extensive wild areas, and you can ski and float down a desert river on the same day.
11. Profiting more than $350 million from legalized pot.
The recreational use proposition hasn’t passed (yet) but medical marijuana got the ok in 2010.
12. Not doing that whole Daylight Savings Time thing.
We get so much sunlight, why do we need to save it? In fact, we still have no idea why you change your clocks back and forth.