This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 9, 2014:
One would think the good doctor is running for Congress from Texas, but he’s not. He’s running to boot a hard-left Democrat who’s been representing the 24th District in California for 15 years by touting all the good things Texas has been doing compared to California. In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Brad Allen, a pediatric heart surgeon from Paso Robles, wrote:
As a Californian, I am pained to say that three of the nation’s five fastest-growing cities – and seven of the top 15 – are in Texas.
He reminded his readers of Toyota’s recent announcement that it was closing its headquarters in California and moving it to a brand spanking new $300 million campus in Plano, Texas, taking some 4,000 jobs with it. He said it wasn’t just about lower energy costs, either, although those costs in Texas are vastly cheaper than they are in California:
Texas has no state income tax, while California’s 13.3% marginal rate is the highest in the country. Electricity rates are about 50%-88% higher compared to Texas due to the Golden State’s renewable-energy mandate, and its gas is 70-80 cents per gallon more expensive because of taxes….
It’s also because of regulatory costs that are driving companies like Toyota out of the state:
A recent California State University study found the total loss of gross state output for California each year due to regulatory costs was $493 billion, equivalent to the loss of 3.8 million jobs each year.
Those are jobs California can scarcely afford to lose. From the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, California has struggled to regain the jobs the state lost, and has now just managed to make them back this past May. In Texas, however, all the jobs lost were gained back by May, 2011, three years earlier, and has now added more than a million new jobs since then.
There’s lots of other data to back him up. Aside from Toyota’s announcement back in April, other giants like Occidental Petroleum, Raytheon, and Legal Zoom – the largest legal website in the world – have all decided to move to Texas, along with more than 50 others just in the past 18 months.
According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, everyone moving with Toyota from California to Texas will save money, partly because the cost of living in Plano is a third less than in Torrance, but also because there is no income tax in Texas. Even after adjusting for the higher real estate taxes in Texas, a single woman making $75,000 a year will pocket nearly $1,250 a month in extra spending money, while a working couple making $150,000 will also enjoy similar, although smaller, increases in discretionary income.
This is not only showing up in job growth in Texas but in the state’s GDP as well, putting it in eighth place nationally among all states in economic growth.
Another driver is the cost of electricity in Texas. A close look at the latest report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (IEA), the cost per kilowatt-hour for commercial establishments in California is more than 13 cents compared to just eight cents in Texas. And heavy energy users like Toyota will cut their bills nearly in half compared to California.
There’s also the political climate in Texas compared to California. The Freedom Index compares the voting record of every member of Congress compared to the Constitution itself – that vague apparition they all swore to uphold and defend, remember – and the record is revealing. Rep. Lois Capps, the incumbent whom Dr. Allen hopes to replace, has an FI of just 21 out of 100. Put another way, she finds it convenient to vote in favor of the Constitution just once every five times. Out of California’s 53 districts, 18 of those representatives have an FI of just 20 or less, while only one has an FI of 80 or more.
In Texas, it’s almost a mirror image: out of the 36 districts there, just three have a rating of 20 or less, while one, Rep. Steve Stockman, clocks in with an FI of 95.
There’s another way to measure Texas’s advantage over California: the U-Haul index. It’s the cost of renting a truck to move out of the state compared to moving into the state. In November 2012, this writer calculated what it would cost a homeowner to move his family, using a 20-foot U-Haul truck, from San Francisco to San Antonio: $1,693. At the same time someone moving from San Antonio to San Francisco would only be charged $893 – a differential of $800. If he were to make the same move, using the same 20-foot truck, on August 1, he would be charged $1,890 to San Antonio, while renting the same truck to move back to San Francisco would cost $737 – a differential of more than $1,100. This is the free market calculation of how much Texas is favored over California.
Not everyone agrees that Texas is the best place to move to, however. David Horsey, a writer for the Baltimore Sun, says that Californians leaving for Texas will leave an awful lot of good things behind:
California has Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Texas has oil and gas.
In California, billionaires get taxed more to pay for programs for the poor. In Texas, billionaires get to keep their money, and the poor go without health care.
[California Governor Jerry] Brown got voters to approve a tax hike to balance the budget and fund education. [Texas Governor Rick] Perry balanced the budget by slashing spending on education.
In lots of places in California, it’s tough to live on a middle class family budget. In lots of places in Texas, it’s hard to live outside a church-going, football-loving, white, heterosexual lifestyle.
That’s a total of at least seven good reasons for Californians to be packing up and leaving for Texas. On the other hand, it’s been difficult to find just one good reason for them to stay. Texas 7, California nothing.
Dr. Bradley Allen’s letter to the Wall Street Journal: A Texas Guide to Economic Recovery
EIA report: Electric Power Monthly
The New American: Latest U-Haul Index Shows Californians Leaving for Texas
Baltimore Sun: California vs. Texas: Which model is shape of the future?
My Fox LA: New Business: Texas vs California
24/7 Wall Street: Ten States With the Fastest Growing Economies