Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Has California Priced Itself Out of the Market?

Sherman Oaks, California

William Voegeli's op-ed piece "The Golden State isn't worth it" is a must read for people who believe in government.

Voegeli's condemnation of California is damning. Taxes are high, and public services are poor or mediocre. Meanwhile, in Texas, taxes are low, and public services are better-than-average.

As much as I love the weather and like being near my friends, I, too, have been contemplating for months about leaving California. What, exactly, do I get for my tax payments that I can't obtain elsewhere at lower cost?

Other states and countries have pleasant weather. There are decent universities -- the main public resource I use -- all over the world, and most academic publications are now a mouse click away. The cost of housing is lower in the red states, and the cost of servants is quite reasonable in the developing world.

When I look at California government, I see a bloated welfare state captured by public sector employees and the archipelago of "public interest" organizations and trade unions which subsist on government contracts. The Legislature exists for these entrenched people -- not for entrepreneurs, not for middle-income working people, not for small business people.

There's a point where I have to wonder if it's worth it. State income tax is 9.55%, while the sales tax in Los Angeles County is 9.75%. That's almost 20% before I factor in federal income taxes, federal payroll taxes, state payroll taxes, property taxes, etc.

How much longer is it worth it?



Blogger grumpypuppet said...

If you want to play in the big leagues, you got to pay.
If smaller town life suits you, there's certainly no reason to live in L.A.
However, comparing California to Texas is a poor argument for less government.
From California's GDP to its crime rates, it blows Texas away.
Now, I think there are a lot of other factors at play here, but Texas is hardly the Utopian, libertarian state.

7:30 AM  
Blogger PKL said...

Geography isn't destiny anymore. For an increasing number of professions, it's not necessary to spend your entire career in one place.

I was recently involved in the production of a motion picture and was struck by the fact that most of the department heads and their first assistants did not live in Los Angeles or New York City. Some lived on ranches in Big Sky Country or in foreign countries like Costa Rica or at the family manse in Vermont.

They'd work the phone and internet for a gig and then fly to the filming location -- which wasn't in LA or NYC, either.

Plenty of people have decent careers in the entertainment industry while refusing to pay California's absurd tax load.

4:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The entertainment biz has almost totally decentralized, I can take my job wherever I want, and CA is inviting me to take it elsewhere.
Perhaps i will RSVP...

5:34 PM  

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