Area is Deceptive; Looks Healthier Than It Really
Many people who come to Tucson see the big homes in the foothills and mountains around Tucson and think that the area is doing well. After all, when we see wealth like that, we assume that it is reflected by the local economy and says a lot about the city itself. Well, Tucson defies the norms. It is not a normal city. Many of the big beautiful homes and spectacular views that one sees are no reflection of the city and its economic health. While there are a lot of them, these homes mostly belong wealthy retirees who contribute little in the way of taxes or an economic base or are second homes for Snow Birds (winter residents). The property taxes that these homes generate don't even benefit Tucson for the most part but stay up in Phoenix. SO DON'T JUDGE TUCSON'S HEALTH BY THE MANSIONS SURROUNDING THE CITY. They are in their own little world.
Tucson is not run by professional politicians. It is run by mostly nice people, yes, but not very aggressive or assertive politicians who can take the bull by the horns (so to speak) and get things pushed through. They are amateurs. Thus, Tucson lags the rest of the state in rebounding from the Great Recession, if indeed it has rebounded at all. The city likes to throw statistics at you about how it is coming back but the rebound is paltry compared to what needs to happen and in comparison to other Sunbelt cities. Tucson's politicians are all homegrown, which is part of the problem.
I get no pleasure out of saying this because this really is a nice place with great potential but also a place that continues and continues and continues to disappoint. Get the point. In short, Tucson is still a Cowtown, run like a cowtown, falling apart like a cowtown, surround by rich people in the foothills who have nothing to do with the city and who could care less. Tucson is a poor city, with poor economic prospects, with poor wages and worker conditions. Add to it that it's a very backward and Red State that puts all its money in its capital, Phoenix and surrounds, and things don't look good for the ole' Pueblo.