This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, January 26, 2018:
Specifically, from Paso Robles, California? It’s a pretty town of 30,000 people located in San Luis County a few miles north of San Luis Obispo, whose full name is El Paso de Robles(“The pass of the oaks”). It’s known for its hot springs, its abundance of wineries, its production of olive oil, its almond orchards, and is the home of Weatherby, Inc., the maker of high-end rifles, shotguns, and ammunition.
Its climate varies little, allowing its residents to enjoy long, hot, dry summers, long-lasting autumns, and early springs, which also makes it perfect for growing grapes, olives, and almonds.
It’s expensive to live there, but, hey, it costs to live like this! According to Sperling’s Best Places, the cost of living in Paso Robles is 144.5 percent of the nation’s average. So why would anyone want to leave, especially for Sheridan, Wyoming, where the average low in winter is in the low double digits?
The president of Weatherby told his employees and media people at the Shot Show in Las Vegas last week part of the reason why:
We wanted a place where we could retain a great workforce, and where our employees could live an outdoor lifestyle.
We wanted to move to a state where we can grow into our brand. Wyoming means new opportunities….
Adam Weatherby also wanted to get out of California. His company, founded by his grandfather 45 years ago, had been looking for an exit for the last three years. He was tired of the high taxes and the growing animosity of California politicians towards guns and anyone who owned them. So he began his search at the Shot Show a year ago and ran into Wyoming’s Governor Matt Mead. Mead was there looking for companies like Weatherby to relocate to his state. Said Mead, “In Wyoming we don’t just want to be known as a firearm state, we want to be known as the firearm state.”
After being wined and dined by a number of governors looking to persuade Weatherby to move to their respective states, he was no doubt influenced by the decision of the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board to approve a $12.5 million grant to a Sheridan economic development group to build Weatherby’s new home there the week earlier. It will lease the building to Weatherby for 20 years with an option for the company to buy it when the lease expires. The lease payments will, over those 20 years, cover the cost of the building, while Sheridan and its environs (there are 30,000 people living near and around the town) will enjoy the economic boost. The company itself is anteing up $2 million on its own to make the transition, which is expected to be completed by 2019.
A brief look at states’ rankings fills out the rest of the answer to the question raised in the title of this article. In its 2017 Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition, Mercatus Center shows why. Based on short- and long-term debt and other key fiscal obligations, such as under-funded public pension and healthcare plans, California ranks near the bottom at 43rd out of the 50 states. Wyoming ranks 5th. Translation: pressure to raise taxes on small companies like Weatherby is negligible in Wyoming; in California it’s almost overwhelming.
In the 10th edition of Rich States, Poor States from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – based on variables such as personal and corporate income tax rates, property tax and sales tax burdens, debt service as a share of the state government’s total revenues, the number of public employees per 10,000 taxpayers, and whether the state is a Right to Work state or not – California ranks 47th out of 50, while Wyoming comes in at 7th.
Weatherby joins Magpul Industries, which pulled out of increasingly anti-gun Colorado in 2013 and moved its factories to Cheyenne. It joins other gun makers in exiting high-tax anti-gun states such as gun maker Beretta, which left Maryland for Tennessee in 2016; Remington Arms, which moved from New York to Alabama in 2014; and Colt and Sturm Ruger, which moved to Texas and North Carolina respectively.
All of which serves, or should serve, for those who are listening, to deliver a message: Money, capital, and people tend to move where they are treated the best. Employees moving to Sheridan are likely to be very happy to put up with its long cold winters in exchange for the equivalent of a 44 percent reduction in their cost of living. Plus they are free to open carry without having to get a permit to do so. And they don’t pay any income taxes, and neither does Weatherby.
The message is clear. It’s too bad that California politicians are deaf.
SanLuisObispo.com: California firearms manufacturer moving to Wyoming
Americas1stfreedom.org: Weatherby Moves Manufacturing Headquarters to Wyoming
Mercatus Center: Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition 2017 Edition
USAToday.com: Wyoming named most tax-friendly state; N.Y. worst