Annexation was intended to save Phoenix. It may end up killing it.
The roots of growing fast by annexing land go back to the 1940s. Phoenix had grown from its original half-square-mile to 9.6 square miles in 1940, with a population of 65,414. It was surrounded by agriculture and well separated from small farm towns such as Glendale, Tempe and Mesa.
But even before the old city commission was swept away by the "reformist" Charter Government Movement, leaders looked east and worried. They knew the Salt River Valley would grow, especially once World War II ended.
They saw how cities in the Midwest and east (St. Louis, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, etc.) had become surrounded by incorporated suburbs that were already sucking away people and tax dollars. They, and all their successors, were determined not to repeat that mistake.