Not unlike the Hebrews departing Egypt and the Okies exiting the dust and famine of the 1930’s Midwest the number of Californians getting the heck out of Dodge so-to-speak is staggering.
In just one decade about 5 million Californians left between 2004 and 2013. Roughly 3.9 million people came here from other states during that period, for a net population loss of more than 1 million people. The trend resulted in a net loss of about $26 billion in annual income.
Although foreign immigration has fueled California’s population growth for decades California natives are moving out. Starting in the 1990s, California has been losing more residents to other states than it has gained.
For the better part of three decades, the state has experienced a net exodus of residents every year to the point that there are now more than 7 million people born in California that call other states home.
You may ask why the exodus? The high cost of living fueled by (pun intended) the high cost of electricity and other utilities including unparalleled fuel costs at the pump.
Famed humorist Mark Twain said, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it”. In California, everyone talks about the high cost of living, the high costs of electricity and fuels, and the over regulations, but nobody does anything about it.
Well a vast number of California voters are talking with their feet. They’re frustrated with the way their tax dollars are being spent and feel their votes have no say as to how to change it.
When you examine the facts, you see the grim data:
- Some of the highest cost of housing and living in the nation.
- Some of the highest costs for electricity and fuels in the nation.
- Unstoppable costs of more regulations, taxes and increased minimum wages targeted toward businesses that are just passed through to the consumers of the services and products from those businesses.
- The frustrating growth of the homeless, poverty, and welfare populations driven by the costs of housing, electricity and fuels.
- Frustration toward the deteriorating electrical grid that has allowed utilities to turn off power prior to threatening winds to protect themselves from liability lawsuits, producing manmade blackouts.
- Growing congestion from the increasing numbers of registered vehicles impacting transportation infrastructures that are not equipped to accommodate such increases.
- The state has chosen to become a leading importer of manufactured goods, electricity, and crude oil rather than manufacture or generate them in-state.
- California has relinquished its environmental stewardship to other states and countries that have significantly less environmental controls.
Getting clobbered by taxes is taking its toll on the psyche and pocketbooks of its residents, along with the high cost of living and doing business. Moreover, Since 2008, more than 10,000 businesses have either fled the state or reduced their investments, says Investor’s Business Daily.
From burger franchise Carl’s Jr. to international vehicle manufacturer, Toyota, big businesses are leaving the state in droves. The small ones find themselves with no choice but to leave as well. They simply can’t compete with the big corporations that stay and take the hit in taxes.
With California so lax on enforcing federal immigration law, its open-borders sentiment is frightening responsible employers away. Businesses that remain in California are stuck in a “lose-lose” situation.
Here’s the Catch-22. The Immigrant Worker Protection Act (GC, Section 7285.1) says an employer who follows federal immigration law is now violating California law, is committing a crime, and is subject to significant fines. At the same time, it is also a crime if an employer fails to follow federal immigration laws.
In California’s one-party state everything in the state, everything is controlled by the Democratic Party and its union allies. The governor and legislature rushed through a massive tax hike on gas and diesel fuel along with higher car registration fees and hardly anyone outside the party noticed.
I see no good future for anyone in California thanks to the current political environment. It is sad to see this in a state where my parents were able to make a go with their businesses with nothing more than ambition, hard work and no big government to get in their way.
Even farming, is becoming more and more arduous as the ill-informed legislature tries to run the only true environmentalists out of the state. If farmers don’t understand how to care for the land and environment, then no one does.
As to the state’s many complex public-policy challenges, like affordable housing, transportation congestion and inequality, we need the public and private sectors to work together to address these issues head on. That doesn’t so much require partisanship as it requires competent leadership.
While many Californians consistently express their pleasure with its current leaders at the polls, tapped-out taxpayers and businesses are voting with their feet and leaving the one-party state. Sadly, most who understand the destructive path the Democratic Legislature is on, have already left, not wanting front-row seats to the implosion, leaving little hope of overturning the irrationality that is California politics.
The future exodus projections do not bode well for the state as across all counties, all age groups, and all races and ethnicities, about fifty percent of Californians are considering moving out. Like rats leaving a sinking ship or major stockholders purging their portfolios, the smart ones are opting out of the failing enterprise called California. The exodus is real.
This piece previously appeared on Fox & Hounds Daily.
Ronald Stein is an engineer who, drawing upon 25 years of project management and business development experience, launched PTS Advance in 1995. He is an author, engineer, and energy expert who writes frequently on issues of energy and economics.