In a great Los Angeles Times op-ed, William Voegeli (The Claremont Institute) points out that lots of people are moving out of California and to places like Texas.
In the piece, headlined: The Golden State isn’t worth it: Our high-benefit/high-tax model no longer works, especially compared with low-tax states like Texas, Voegeli points out:
One way to assess how Americans feel about the different tax and benefit packages the states offer is by examining internal U.S. migration patterns. Between April 1, 2000, and June 30, 2007, an average of 3,247 more people moved out of California than into it every week, according to the Census Bureau. Over the same period, Texas had a net weekly population increase of 1,544 as a result of people moving in from other states. During these years, more generally, 16 of the 17 states with the lowest tax levels had positive “net internal migration,” in the Census Bureau’s language, while 14 of the 17 states with the highest taxes had negative net internal migration.
Voegeli points out that Californians are getting a raw deal for their crushing tax burden:
Today’s public benefits fail that test, as urban scholar Joel Kotkin of NewGeography.com and Chapman University told the Los Angeles Times in March: “Twenty years ago, you could go to Texas, where they had very low taxes, and you would see the difference between there and California. Today, you go to Texas, the roads are no worse, the public schools are not great but are better than or equal to ours, and their universities are good. The bargain between California’s government and the middle class is constantly being renegotiated to the disadvantage of the middle class.”
So, why don’t the tax-paying citizens of California get better benefits in exchange for all the money the state confiscates?:
In what respects, then, does California “excel”? California’s state and local government employees were the best compensated in America, according to the Census Bureau data for 2006. And the latest posting on the website of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility shows 9,223 former civil servants and educators receiving pensions worth more than $100,000 a year from California’s public retirement funds. The “dues” paid by taxpayers in order to belong to Club California purchase benefits that, increasingly, are enjoyed by the staff instead of the members.
Of course, this is precisely the pattern that is now being forced upon the entire nation by the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate. Union clout is rising and the only jobs being created are well-paid government jobs with cadillac pension packages.
As a result, the smarter folks in California move to low-tax havens of functionality like Texas. The question is, are they smart enough to know that if they bring their Blue State voting habits with them, they will eventually destroy the very thing that made the place appealing?
In Texas we say, “Welcome California economic refugees. Just remember to leave your Blue State voting habits at the California line.”
(Hat tip: Powerline Blog)
Update: Roger Simon comments on the same op-ed.