This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 30, 2020:
When Ben Shapiro, founder of the Los Angeles-based conservative website Daily Wire, announced in September that he and his company were leaving for Nashville, he made a noisy exit. He wrote:
We’re leaving because all the benefits of California have steadily eroded — and then suddenly collapsed….
All the costs of California have steadily increased — and then suddenly skyrocketed….
Nearly every public space in Los Angeles has become a repository for open waste, needles and trash….
Looters were allowed free reign … during the Black Lives Matter riots….
To combat these trends, local and state governments have gamed the statistics, reclassifying offenses and letting prisoners go free.… In July, the city of Los Angeles slashed police funding, cutting the force to its lowest levels in over a decade….
California’s top marginal income tax rate is now 13.3%; legislators what to raise it to 16.8%….
California has the worst regulatory climate in America….
The state legislature is dominated by Democrats. California is not on a trajectory toward recovery; it is on a trajectory toward oblivion. Taxpayers are moving out — now including my family and my company. In 2019, before the pandemic and the widespread rioting and looting, outmigration jumped 38%, rising for the seventh straight year. That number will increase again this year.
I want my kids to grow up sate. I want them to grow up in a community with a future, with more freedom and safety that I grew up with.
California makes that impossible. So, goodbye, Golden State. Thanks for the memories.
Shapiro took nearly all of his company’s 75 employees with him. And they’re not alone. In July, Joe Rogan, host of The Joe Rogan Experience, announced he was moving to Texas, citing the need for “a little more freedom” and decrying “the traffic … the economic despair … [and] the homelessness problem that’s accelerated radically” in Los Angeles over the last decade.
A locally prominent developer, Paul Petrovich, is headed for Austin, Texas, motivated by California’s high and increasing tax rates imposed on successful business owners. His move was motivated “by … not wanting to be taken advantage of.” He called his move an “evacuation”: “When you really don’t have a choice after working for 40 years, you have to do this. It’s an evacuation.”
Websites tracking the exit of disaffected Californians have gained tens of thousands of subscribers, including “Conservatives Leaving California” and “Life After California,” which has gained nearly 50,000 members since the first of the year.
One of those websites, LeavingCalifornia.com, lists the various reasons people are leaving: onerous business regulations; difficulty in starting a new business; cost of living; political interference; poor schools; poor healthcare; and dismal personal experiences that it titles “stories that can’t possibly be true but totally are.”
Housing prices, according to CoreLogic, have increased more than 12 percent in 2020, putting even modest homes out of reach for many middle-class citizens.
Politicians are making it easier to exit the state. Sacramento Democrats are not only raising taxes, but are seeking to raise them on past earnings as well. In addition, California Democrats are the first in the country to threaten a “wealth tax” — a percentage of total assets no matter where they are located — and continuing to assess that tax for ex-Californians up to 10 years after they leave the state.
When former governor Jerry Brown was asked about the number of citizens leaving his state, he blamed climate change: “There are going to be problems everywhere in the United States. This is the new normal. It’s been predicted and it’s happening. This is part of the new long-term experience.”
He asked rhetorically, “Where are you going to go? … what’s your alternative? Maybe Canada? You’re going to places like Iowa where you have intensifying tornadoes?”
So, not only are the laws a disincentive, but crazy politicians such as the former governor are providing plenty of excuse for the stream of those bidding farewell to the once Golden State.
So farewell California, thanks for the memories, and hello Texas, Tennessee, Idaho and Florida!