Arizona is a frontier state. In the 19th century, Arizona was a place with wide-open spaces where opportunity beckoned. In the 21st century, it still is, but with a fresh twist on the meaning. This is a state where wide-open opportunity inspires people seeking to build new technologies.
We have embraced and promoted this modern frontier. In the past two legislative sessions, I’ve partnered with my colleagues in the Legislature to pass legislation that makes it clear Arizona continues to welcome pioneers.
Last year it was the FinTech sandbox bill, which cut red tape and fees for technology companies testing new, more convenient ways to provide financial services. It created a “sandbox” in which visionaries and entrepreneurs have the freedom to test new ideas and products.
This year, we passed the PropTech bill, which does the same for qualifying companies pioneering new ways of developing, selling and leasing residential real estate. The Wall Street Journal recently called Phoenix “the future of housing” because of the innovations taking flight here. “It’s the dawn of e-commerce for real estate. Phoenix is ground zero,” said Zillow CEO Rich Barton.
And ground zero is a good place to be. The PropTech legislation, HB2673, encourages consumer centric convenience, with safeguards for both the developers and end-user. We expect to attract even more innovators working across all industries, whether they’re developing new software, creating new hardware or materials, or exploring new ideas in construction. Zillow, for instance, is integrating their instant-buying and selling program with an online mortgage service.
What else might be coming down the road? That’s the beauty of PropTech: By encouraging innovation, we will see new applications that don’t exist today.
This is a boon for consumers, who don’t have to wait for cutting-edge products to arrive in Arizona, choosing convenience over convention. The important thing is that our approach will allow us to diversify the local economy, further safeguarding from the negative consequence of a future downturn.
It’s also a boon for Arizona’s tech industry. Our reputation is growing as the place for high-tech companies forging new trails. Tech companies consider many factors in choosing where to locate, but a prime consideration is the local ecosystem – importantly, how fully new ideas and innovators are supported.
Arizona puts its words into action. We were the first in the nation to pass groundbreaking 5G technology to ensure our communication infrastructure is some of the best in the country. We passed FinTech and now PropTech legislation. Arizona does more than put out a welcome mat. We toss the doors wide open and shout, “Come join us!”
Tech jobs pay well, boosting our economy. A critical mass of tech companies encourages innovation across sectors, increasing choices for us all and raising the quality of life.
PropTech keeps the momentum going. I thank Gov. Ducey for his leadership and the Legislature for the bipartisan support to keep Arizona’s frontier heritage alive for the high-tech pioneers of the future.
State Rep. Jeff Weninger is a Republican from Chandler representing Legislative District 17. He chairs the House Commerce Committee.