There has been a steady stream of stories of entrepreneurs bailing on California. Here’s one example of a 30-year old YouTube multimillionaire high tailing it to Henderson, Nevada. This week some guy named Elon Musk made news for relocating to Texas. Vegas; Austin; Bend, Oregon are the new Los Angeles.
My family moved from Ohio to Southern California in 1973. Once my swimmer-platform diving daredevil brother experienced the beach scene, he never left. Today, his posse is filled with successful entrepreneurs, so I asked him if this outward migration was legit. He confirmed it is.
“One of my coffee buddies is looking at AZ or Nevada. Tough when they have a network or friends and family. One of the issues that most of these guys face is having investments in CA that are hard to move. Even if they move, they still have to pay CA taxes. In conversations, it’s not the amount of taxes that they pay, but the way they are used. The waste and lack of financial control that public servants use, is consistently frustrating.”
An exact echo of the video story.
So where does this end? Is the Golden State done? A year from now, will it be the Silver State? A decade from now, the Bronze State?
My guess is this is a lull. What makes California such a special place to live? Near constant sunshine, the Pacific coastline, the Redwoods, the Sierra Nevadas, being able to visit my childhood home, UCLA basketball. Those things remain (relatively) unaffected by high taxes and a declining quality of life.
What’s another major issue that often makes California an exasperating place to live? Population density and it’s ripple effects—clogged freeways, jammed parking lots, exorbitant housing prices, long lines at Space Mountain.
With each business departure, the Golden State is a touch less crowded. Meaning there’s slightly less traffic, slightly less demand for housing, slightly more tee times available. Of course, there’s even less tax revenue too. Which could lead to one of two things, either Sacramento figures out how to use the revenue that’s left a lot more efficiently or they raise taxes on The Leftovers.
One thing I know for sure. After 48 years, my brother is starting to get comfortable in California. He’s a kite surfing, paddle boarding machine with sand in his house and a year round tan that’s really annoying. He’s not going anywhere.