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The Glitter Fades from the Golden State

You know the jig is up when the Los Angles Times twigs to something like this.

The Golden State isn't worth it
Our high-benefit/high-tax model no longer works, especially compared with low-tax states like Texas.

By William Voegeli
Los Angeles Times

In America's federal system, some states, such as California, offer residents a "package deal" that bundles numerous and ambitious public benefits with the high taxes needed to pay for them. Other states, such as Texas, offer packages combining modest benefits and low taxes. These alternatives, of course, define the basic argument between liberals and conservatives over what it means to get the size and scope of government right.

It's not surprising, then, that there's an intense debate over which model is more admirable and sustainable. What is surprising is the growing evidence that the low-benefit/low-tax package not only succeeds on its own terms but also according to the criteria used to defend its opposite. In other words, the superior public goods that supposedly justify the high taxes just aren't being delivered.

Nor can they be.

The only sector in California which has flourished has been State Employees, which is in effect a second tax on the "services" they provide.

The result? People and business are voting with their feet:

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.

As a third generation native of California who has lived in several (10) states (including both California and Texas), I have to say the temptation to once again vote with my feet is strong.


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Comments (50)

Two terms with a Republcian... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

Two terms with a Republcian governor has literally destroyed the California economy, and the voters know it. The Democratic gubernatorial runners are far outpacing the Republicans in the polls leading into the 2010 elections.

California won't see a Republican governor again for a long, long time.

Kalifornia's economy is ter... (Below threshold)
914:

Kalifornia's economy is terminated just like Michigans thanks to greedy nanny state green earthers.

More Barry bailouts are in the works unless He is impeached soon.

Steve Green: "Two terms ... (Below threshold)

Steve Green: "Two terms with a Republcian governor has literally destroyed the California economy, and the voters know it."

Steve, that needs to be submitted for consideration as "DUMBEST Post of the Year".


The voters know:
(a) the LEGISLATURE (80% Democrat) in Kalifornia sets the spending...and the taxes!
(b) yes, neither Gray Davis nor Ahhhnold did a DAMN thing about that Legislature!
(c) a DEMOCRAT as Governor is going to do even LESS about it than a Republican!


Of course, our "beloved" Legislature will indeed try to blame Schwarzenegger for everything...but it really IS their fault...and they are DEMOCRATS!

Incidentally, I note that t... (Below threshold)
James H:

Incidentally, I note that the OP left off this graf:

You wouldn't know it from putting up with California's transportation and educational systems, but there actually is a principled, plausible argument to be made for the high-benefit/high-tax model. For the sake of both California and their own political ideals, its advocates ought to be leading the charge against every excess and inefficiency that deprives taxpayers of good value for their dollars. That won't happen until they stand up to their coalition partners by breaking their Faustian political bargain with California's self-serving governmental-industrial complex.

Which makes me wonder. Do people vote with their feet because they don't agree with a high-tax/high-benefit model, or because California's delivering low value for its high taxes?

As a long-time California r... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

As a long-time California resident I can tell you it's the latter. There is a hugh backlash against Schwarzengger's rape and pillage approach to the California services. Libraries are barely staying open and services are cut across the board.

Swarzenegger's use of veto and support of the Republican rape pillage crew in the legislature has insured a Democratic Governor in the next election.

Steve:ENsured. EN... (Below threshold)
James H:

Steve:

ENsured. ENsured. INsure is something else entirely.

Sorry. Pet peeve.

Mountain West stat... (Below threshold)
macofromoc:

Mountain West states are praying for a California Democratic Governor. Thanx - keep up the good work!!!

Little ole' Stevie is a rea... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Little ole' Stevie is a really stupid.

Steve Green<blockquo... (Below threshold)
Stan25:

Steve Green

Swarzenegger's use of veto and support of the Republican rape pillage crew in the legislature has insured a Democratic Governor in the next election.

The problem is that Schwarzenegger did not use the veto pen enough. He should have vetoed every bill that the Democrat controlled Legislature sent to him. That includes all of the tax increases that have been passed since he has been in office. The only rape and pillage that I see in the State of California, is on the Democrat side. They are the ones that started California down the road to be like New Jersey and Michigan, not the Republicans.

Steve:Tw... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Steve:

Two terms with a Republcian governor has literally destroyed the California economy, and the voters know it.

ROFL! Okay... you say the gov't has destroyed the CA economy ? While factually 'challenged', it's certainly sounds like a good argument for limited gov't...

Mountain West stat... (Below threshold)
Stan25:
Mountain West states are praying for a California Democratic Governor. Thanx - keep up the good work!!!

The only problem with that premise, is that the people that move to the mountain west states, will eventually make us have high taxes, like California. The liberals that will leave there, will eventually get positions in the local and state governments and they will bankrupt these states too. I happen to live in one of those mountain west states (Wyoming) and we don't want them here at all.

Well, when I got out of the... (Below threshold)
TheGarbone:

Well, when I got out of the service I had a choice between going "Home" to high tax Maine or move to Florida,, I chose to head south and voted with my feet.

People like Steve Green exp... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

People like Steve Green explain why this state is in such a mess. We'd be okay, if the BLUE areas of this state were FORBIDDEN to vote.

If the current DEMOCRATIC legislature isn't flushed out in 2010, Momma and I are moving to Arizona.

Stevie, you're at the botto... (Below threshold)

Stevie, you're at the bottom of the hole...quit digging!

your line about the "Republican rape pillage crew in the legislature" had me in stitches!

The California State Senate has 25 Democrats and 15 Republicans; and the Assembly has 49 Democrats, 29 Republicans. In both the Democrats completely control the Legislation...and are very near a 2/3 majority which would completely eliminate Republican involvement in ANY Bill.

EVERY Bill coming out of Sacto is the DEMOCRATS Bill.

"Republican rape pillage crew in the legislature"????? LOL, truly. The Republicans need to get permission from the Dems just to use the bathroom!!

The California Sta... (Below threshold)
James H:
The California State Senate has 25 Democrats and 15 Republicans; and the Assembly has 49 Democrats, 29 Republicans. In both the Democrats completely control the Legislation...and are very near a 2/3 majority which would completely eliminate Republican involvement in ANY Bill.

Not quite. California has a special budget provision that (IIRC) requites a 2/3 majority to approve budget allocations.

"You know the jig is up whe... (Below threshold)
Rance:

"You know the jig is up when the Los Angles Times twigs to something like this."

Twigs??? How British!!!

By the way, don't confuse the editorial stance of the paper with that of an Op-Ed contributor.

"Not quite. California h... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

"Not quite. California has a special budget provision that (IIRC) requites a 2/3 majority to approve budget allocations."

Amazing how uninformed some folks are, eh?

Check out the polls - it will be landslide victory for whoever is the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

The voters know who is behind the rape and pillage of he once Golden State - the G'Damn GOP!

"The voters know who is beh... (Below threshold)
914:

"The voters know who is behind the rape and pillage of he once Golden State - the G'Damn GOP"

Your so full of shit its coming out of Your keyboard.

The voters in California wi... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

The voters in California will pass a referendum overturning the budget 2/3'rd requirement first chance they get.

The GOP screwed the poor and working class folks in California at the expense of helping the rich, as usual. The exodus out of California will stop and reverse itself when California flushes the toilet and rids Sacramento of the Republican control that has squeezed the economic life out of this state.

James H:... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

James H:

Not quite. California has a special budget provision that (IIRC) requites a 2/3 majority to approve budget allocations.

In response to..

and are very near a 2/3 majority which would completely eliminate Republican involvement in ANY Bill.

I suggest reading before you respond.

Mike:I did read. ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Mike:

I did read. "Near" a supermajority is not the same thing as having that supermajority. Just ask the US Senate.

"The voters know who is ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"The voters know who is behind the rape and pillage of he once Golden State - the G'Damn GOP!"

Oh Steve... LOL!

Just can't admit it, can you? You're in the sorry position of a thief blaming his victim for not having more money on him.

Or maybe a fool blaming the bank for bouncing checks for insufficient funds - after all, you've still got blank checks, you CAN'T be out of money!

But California's broke. And the credit cards are maxed out. And even the Payday Loan people aren't passing out money. Time to load up all the goodies into the car and take 'em to the pawn shop. Hope you enjoyed 'em while you had 'em - it'll be a while getting them back...

"Time to load up all the... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

"Time to load up all the goodies into the car and take 'em to the pawn shop. Hope you enjoyed 'em while you had 'em - it'll be a while getting them back..."

I'll be fine - others won't..

Such as battered women, but Republicans don't care about them:

While the California state Legislature budgeted for a 20 percent cut for funding for domestic violence services, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger far exceeded the cut by revoking all $20.4 million of state funding. Domestic violence service agencies have be left to sink or swim without any government assistance, and have had to retract many of their services and in many cases rely on volunteers to continue functioning.

And what about senior citizens with Alzheimer's? Lawson and the GOP says scre-em

Senior Concerns President Carol Freeman said the $68,000 grant from the agency for Alzheimer's patients represents one-tenth of their budget for adult day-care services. The nonprofit also depends on fundraising events. The board of directors didn't expect the state budget cuts to mean the loss of the entire grant, Freeman said.

and let's not forget children:

The San Marcos (Calif.) school board approved cuts last night that could eliminate the jobs of 76 full-time and part-time classified employees, including bus drivers, custodians and instructional aides. It means that all home-to-school transportation would be eliminated for general education students attending the district's elementary and middle schools. About 2,000 students would be affected.

Countless more have been effected, and the Republicans just laugh.

James H:... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

James H:

I did read. "Near" a supermajority is not the same thing as having that supermajority. Just ask the US Senate.

Okay, then read AND comprehend.

Your statement appears as if you were attempting to point out an error, which in reality did not appear in that to which you were responding. Which is to say, you either had trouble reading and comprehending or you're dismantling a strawman.

For you Californians thinki... (Below threshold)
klrtz1:

For you Californians thinking about moving to Texas I just have two words: hurricanes and tornadoes. Or should the two words be heat and humidity? Red necks and religion? Damn, I'm not sure which two words to tell you. Anyway, the point is you probably wouldn't like it here.

Road rage induced freeway shootings. Nope, that's way more than two words. I'll keep thinking about it.

Mike:It appeared t... (Below threshold)
James H:

Mike:

It appeared that the writer meant control was available because of a "near" two-thirds majority, rather than the absolute two-thirds majority. The sentence is unclear.

Steve...have you even BEEN ... (Below threshold)

Steve...have you even BEEN to California?

The out of control SPENDING is the problem...and is what is leading to vastly increased TAXES...which is what is driving people away.

So you come back with more examples of SPENDING we (supposedly) need.

Our schools are in the TOILET...yet we have some of the highest per capita spending in the nation!

Steven:Seriously, ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Steven:

Seriously, do you think Arnold Schwarzenegger sits in his office, twirls his moustache, and wonders how he's going to stick it to widows, orphans, and puppy dogs?? He's cutting funding to the bone because THE STATE IS BROKE.

Stevie just keeps 'em comin... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Stevie just keeps 'em coming: "Republicans don't care"

Yeah Stevie. Right. When the DEMOCRAT controlled legislature had to make cuts because the public voted down an extended TAX INCREASE, first words out of their mouths was "we're cutting police, fire and medical coverage." Nothing about cutting their per diem pay, nothing about them turning in their state supplied cars, nothing about them turning in their state gasoline cards. Yeah Stevie, it's all the fault of those evil Republicans.

You are so full of shit. You ever have an original thought that wasn't a repeat of a DNC talking point?

Steve Green <blockqu... (Below threshold)
Stan25:

Steve Green

It means that all home-to-school transportation would be eliminated for general education students attending the district's elementary and middle schools. About 2,000 students would be affected.

This is a bad thing? How? The libs like you are always railing about how obese (fat for those of you in Rio Linda) our children are getting. Did you ever think that giving these children a ride back and forth to school on a large bus, might be some of the problem? The children should walk to school, instead of being mollycoddled by a bunch of nanny-staters like you, Steve. That would knock off a few pounds on the obese ones, that your buds are so concerned about. Other thought here, by reducing the amount of buses that travel the streets, this would also bow to the God of global warming that you and your ilk bow and scrape to everyday of your miserable existence. This would also save millions of dollars that go into the cost of fuel and maintenance that goes into each bus that is on the road.

Stevie doesn't get it, even... (Below threshold)
JustRuss IT1(SW) USN [retired]:

Stevie doesn't get it, even though I am tired of saying it and I'm sure the left is tired of hearing it.

Arnold is a RINO you boob! He ran as a Republican but immediately after getting the office swung hard to the left past moderate. Now that he is FINALLY being conservative and cutting budgets that the state CANNOT afford the left wants to demonize him, when he has been just WONDERFUL for the past few years.

Stop putting up RINO's and calling them mainstream republicans. Bush too was a RINO and conservatives hate what he did (or didn't do) on things like immigration and bailouts.

Lets just hope that people are smart enough after all the debate the last 2 years, to see that it was the democrat controlled legislature that got them into that mess and not the "republican" governator.

"Seriously, do you think... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

"Seriously, do you think Arnold Schwarzenegger sits in his office, twirls his moustache, and wonders how he's going to stick it to widows, orphans, and puppy dogs?? He's cutting funding to the bone because THE STATE IS BROKE."

I think Swarzenegger sits in his office twirling more than just his moustache.

"The out of control SPENDING is the problem...and is what is leading to vastly increased TAXES...which is what is driving people away."

Did you say "vastly increased taxes?"

"When the DEMOCRAT controlled legislature had to make cuts because the public voted down an extended TAX INCREASE, "

Lots of of twirling going on here on this blog as well.

California revenues are down because of the Bush recession. Rather than increase taxes are do other things to avoid service cuts (like borrowing) Arnold "the Twirler" Schwarzengger and his band of twirling Republican legislators cut services drastically.

You GOPers love your reputation as government slash and burn specialists and yet you fight tooth and nail to take credit for the results of your slash and burn.

"Steve...have you even BEEN to California? "

I've lived in California for the last 30+ years.

"I've lived in California f... (Below threshold)
klrtz1:

"I've lived in California for the last 30+ years."

That makes you part of the problem, Steve.

Green you must be and idiot... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft IIIz:

Green you must be and idiot. I live in CA and in Sacramento. Democrats have ruined this state. The enviros have cause water to not be sent to the central valley farmers. The legislature has purchased the votes of state employees (they surely are not workers) who are paid far better than private industry jobs, to the ruin of our finances. The teachers unions have ruined our educational system and they spend more than the state takes in every year. The legislature writes and passes the budget, steve, not the Governor. Like I said, you must be an idiot.

Two terms with ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Two terms with a Republcian governor has literally destroyed the California economy, and the voters know it.

That was close. I almost stepped in that.

There is a hugh backlash against Schwarzengger's rape and pillage approach to the California services.

Why, it would serve us native Californians right if all you members of the liberal locusts would unfold your wings and fly off to infest somewhere ...else. And give us back our beloved state.

Btw, where did you come from? I'm sure there's lots of room wherever it was.

Check out the p... (Below threshold)
Gray Davis:

Check out the polls - it will be landslide victory for whoever is the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

The voters know who is behind the rape and pillage of he once Golden State - the G'Damn GOP!

Damn right!

The bottom line is this, re... (Below threshold)
mag:

The bottom line is this, regardless of how much the gov't wants to spend on things whether they are needed or might be consider wasteful...if there is no more money what are you to do?

That is the problem of these social programs they usually collapse from their own weight. (Medicare-Medicaid-SS) Like I read one time of a snake's fangs being so long he ended up biting and killing himself.
That how it is with social programs.
And really all these "problems" of busing kids (we had to walk to school-I live in the NorthEast-even in winter...it was our parents business to get us to school and not the state)
Battered women....be more careful who you mate with, and don't these women have family and friends and then the law to help them. Why do taxpapers are always footing the bills for all these f-ups. Sorry, I do without because my taxes are high and I work two jobs to have something nice and I am tired of giving.

Mr. Green "I've lived in Ca... (Below threshold)
SER Author Profile Page:

Mr. Green "I've lived in California for the last 30+ years."

No offense, but based on your knowledge of State Government, I'd have to infer that you went to California public schools.

"Green you must be and i... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

"Green you must be and idiot. "

Uhm, yeah... whatever.

Green, the problem is that ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Green, the problem is that legislature is liberal-infested, and has been for a generation, owing to liberal gerrymandering of districts. They've blocked all attempts to fix the gerrymandering problem in the legislature, and fought bitterly against two initiatives designed to do the same (the last one from Schwarzenegger - the use of three retired judges, one from each party and an independent, to draw up districts).

The legislature keeps spending money we don't effing have, and then wanting to raise taxes again, so they can spend even more. On whom do they spend it? Not the "children" or any of the other liberal stalking horses. They spend it on the public sector unions.

That's what's clobbering the state economy, and why productive people are leaving, eroding the tax base and necessitating higher rates of taxation on the productive people who remain.

Here's Shawn Mallow in the ... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

Here's Shawn Mallow in the post above, whining about the New Jersey Governor:

Not only has Corzine contributed to these deplorable set of circumstances for the last four years as Governor, but he's been a prime-mover of them as one of New Jersey's two U.S. Senators for the four years prior.

So Democratic governors "contribute" to the condition of a state but Republican governors don't?

I don't think you listen to yourself.

"The legislature keeps spending money we don't effing have, and then wanting to raise taxes again, so they can spend even more. On whom do they spend it? Not the "children" or any of the other liberal stalking horses. They spend it on the public sector unions."

Well, since taxes haven't been raised in California and services have been cut instead I guess JustRuss wants us to believe that people are moving out of California because those Dems are thinking about rising taxes.

To quote one of the conservatives around here "... you must be and idiot."

So Steve, you point is that... (Below threshold)
klrtz1:

So Steve, you point is that New Jersey is the model for what California will become when it finally has a Democratic Governor again?

Your are and idiot!

Who did Arnie replace and w... (Below threshold)
Rich:

Who did Arnie replace and why? I forgot..I know it was something to do with money or the economy or something like that.

Rich

Green,Well, sin... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Green,

Well, since taxes haven't been raised in California and services have been cut instead I guess JustRuss wants us to believe that people are moving out of California because those Dems are thinking about rising taxes.

They've raised them (and the regulatory hurdles) for the last 20 years; the level has just become unsustainable. People realizing that, and that the situation will only get worse, are leaving.

Ideally, we need to fire about a quarter of state employees, cut the pay of the rest, and outlaw unions in the public sector. Alternatively, we need to ban pay raises and promotions for any state employee while the state is in deficit. Make the state employee unions have some skin in this game.

The question has to be aske... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

The question has to be asked of all liberals: what city or state would you hold out as your example of how things should be run?

I mean long-term, not over a year or two, but over a generation. It's always possible to burn the furniture to keep warm...for a while.

Raises for state employees ... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

Raises for state employees were suspended in 2008. Salaries of state employees were rolled back 6-8% in 2009.

And yet the exodus continues - gee, I wonder why? It couldn't be because the governor is cutting services, no, no, no...

It's because the Dems are thinking about raising taxes - that's why.

-------------
"Green you must be and idiot."
- Zeldorf Ragshaft III - Wizbang Regular


Fairfax County, Virginia, s... (Below threshold)
James H:

Fairfax County, Virginia, seems to be run well. Members of the county board are generally apolitical, and two former chairmen, Tom Davis (R) and Gerald Connolly (D), have gone on to represent the area in the House of Representatives. The county's main problem is not with blight, but with how to manage its rather explosive growth.

Then again, compared to a lot of municipal governments, Fairfax County starts with huge advantages, including a well-educated and wealthy populace.

Hey Steve, don't forget abo... (Below threshold)
klrtz1:

Hey Steve, don't forget about me. I called you and idiot too!

"In America's federal sy... (Below threshold)
wtfo:

"In America's federal system, some states, such as California, offer residents a "package deal" that bundles numerous and ambitious public benefits with the high taxes needed to pay for them."

This doesn't even make any freaking sense. Those who get the "services" are not the ones shouldering the tax burden. Those who DO pay the taxes - get nothing but an ever-increasing population of moochers. The services - as provided, and under the overall legislative environment in CA - do nothing to promote law and order, or to eliminate crime.

In short, the model is borked. The "deal" is that those who actually produce something are forced to pay an ever-increasing amount of taxes to support a cesspool of crime, fraud, and laziness.

Of course they're going to want to move someplace like Texas.

Steve,So ... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

Steve,

So Democratic governors "contribute" to the condition of a state but Republican governors don't?

NJ and CA suffer from the same problem an out of control legislature which keeps taxing and spending. Arnie is RHINO so he did not but any caps on spending when things were good and now their bad he tries to cut programs. Corzine a liberal dem who been spending like their no tomorrow. In both states you have Legislatures which are out of control and Governor that have enabled them.

Corzine created 111 new taxes, raised tolls and because of the way Trenton takes local property taxes and redistributes it has caused 17% raised local taxes.

His 2010 Budget will raise personal income tax from 8.25% top rate to 10.25. So you work hard make money and Federal and local government takes 35% + 17% + 10.25 + 2.9 =65.25% tax rate.

Which is why high earners are leaving NJ in droves.
He raised the rate to curb budget short falls but does he cut spending nope ,In his 4 years he has increased state work forces by 54K people.

People who drive in the state have been hit by higher tolls and bus fares have also been raised.

When voter said no to funding Stem cells Corizine spent the money anyway.




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