It is fabled that an Oregon governor, Tom McCall, once put a sign on the Oregon-California border that read, “Welcome to Oregon. Enjoy your visit, but please don’t live here.” The story seems to be largely Oregonian lore, but McCall did, in fact, say on CBS News in 1971, “Come visit us again and again. This is a state of excitement. But for heaven’s sake, don’t come here to live.” And ever since then, Oregonians have kept that mindset with our neighbors to the South- we are happy to see them, but we don’t want Oregon to be the new California.
Now, bear in mind, I write this as a California-born writer. Long ago, my family fled California not unlike any other economic refugees fleeing defunct socialist states that could promise no hope for prosperity. It was the ‘90’s, and California, the home of Silicon Valley, was doing well with the dot com bubble that would burst years later.
We fled California not because it was in the economic ruins it is today, but because my parents realized the flawed economic model of a highly-regulatory government that increasingly taxed and regulated industry and business to fund an ever-broadening welfare state and expanding government bureaucracy. Now, it seems that the idea of fleeing the sinking ship of California is catching on.
“[California Governor Jerry Brown] said more people nationally will have to “share” more of the wealth they “extracted” to fund “collective” government.
But a Manhattan Institute study released in September found excessive regulations and high taxes forced business and California residents to flee the state en masse since 1990 to more economically friendly states like Texas.
The study found that 225,000 California residents are leaving the state per year, and most of the ‘destination states favored by Californians have lower taxes.’
Last Tuesday, Californians approved Proposition 30, which was Brown’s plan to raise rates on incomes above $250,000, with those making over $1 million having to pay a top marginal state income tax rate of 13.3%, which is the highest such rate of any state. Voters also approved of a statewide sales-tax increase.
Democrats also now have a supermajority in the state legislature, which means they can pass more tax increases.”
It really is not surprising. People go to the path of least resistance, and when you live in a state whose economic model is based around viewing the producers as a piggy bank to turn to whenever there is a budgetary problem, eventually the producers will swallow the short-term costs of moving to another state in order to remain economically viable in the long-run.
When states turn up the heat on companies and try to squeeze them for their hard-earned profits, it is only a matter of time before people pack up and leave. California’s system does not work. Period. And the mass migration shows that I am not alone in my observation.
Keep this in mind: California has 840 miles of coastline. It also has the second-largest city in America. For industry, it has fishing and has some of the most beautiful forests and scenery as well as a massive tourist industry. It has the film industry and the television industry. It even has the adult entertainment industry. It has a robust wine industry and it has Silicon Valley and the associated tech industry. Of course, it has a massive agriculture industry as well.
California’s economic model is so flawed that even with the aforementioned opportunities for revenue, it is still $16 billion in debt. There is something wrong with this picture. Take a good look, America. This is where we are heading if we don’t make a right turn.