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Saving California is worth the journey

POSTED April 12, 2011 10:59 p.m.
You may have read in recent news that I am leading a bipartisan delegation of California Legislators to Texas in just a few days. I am doing it because our state is in economic crisis and it is time to pull our heads out of the sand. California is a beautiful state. My father was a developer who helped build it. I grew up here and made a life as a realtor. I helped families find homes here for thirty years. It’s a state I love and would give my life for. 

But now the dream of California is falling apart. We have some of the highest unemployment in the nation. We also have the highest taxes. We’re ranked 49th on sales tax, 50th on capital gains, 50th on gasoline and school parcel taxes, and 50th on overall taxes. We even beat New York on how much we take from taxpayers. 

When you couple our taxes with the strictest regulatory climate in the nation, it’s a lose/lose situation for businesses, especially with today’s economy. Businesses are leaving California in droves now. Joe Vranich, the Business Relocation Coach, has seen four times more businesses looking to leave California this year than last, and many of them are going to Texas. 

Texas was ranked by Chief Executive Magazine as the best state in the nation for business and job growth. California ranked worst. Forbes Magazine ranked Texas the 7th best state to do business while ranking California 39th. Texas ranked No. 3 in the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council’s 2010 “Small Business Survival Index.” California ranked as the 4th toughest state. You get the picture. 

Rankings aren’t the only numbers to be concerned with. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas added 165,386 jobs between January 2008 and December 2010. California lost 1,145,037 jobs in that same time frame. Those are jobs that provide incomes to real people. They also provide tax revenues to our state. Without jobs in the private sector there is no one to pay for jobs in the government; it takes roughly 20 private sector jobs to fund one government job. So as private jobs decline here, so too will jobs for teachers and public safety workers. 

I can’t sit idly and watch this happen. Our children, and grandchildren, deserve the same opportunities we’ve enjoyed for so many years. So I’ve invited California Legislators, our Lt. Governor, even representatives from the California Teachers Association, to join me on an educational journey to Texas. We’re going to meet with both public officials, and actual business leaders who left our state for theirs. 

I know Texas isn’t perfect. I don’t expect us to manage our state exactly like theirs. But right now they are attracting businesses and jobs while ours are slipping away. In this one area they’re doing something right, and California has it terribly wrong. The nation is watching us and they want to know if California can save its economy, or remain a dead weight holding back the rest of the country. For our sake, I hope that those watching will open their hearts and minds, and help us turn our state around.
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