Opinion: Golden State Loses Its Luster After Pricing Itself Out of Market

According to The Washington Times, one-way van rentals and moving trucks remain popular in the formerly Golden State of California.

“California suffered the sharpest net loss of one-way movers for the fourth straight year.” 

Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom denied an exodus from California is happening during his debate with GOP Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, but rent-a-van-or-truck companies do not lie.

The total is compelling. “According to the Census Bureau, roughly 342,000 more people left California than arrived in 2022.”

It’s equal to Anaheim packing up and leaving for elsewhere each year. If you add 2021, the total becomes 750,000 — a Seattle-sized exodus.

The loss of population in California isn’t a new development.

It has continued for decades, and until recently, the arrogant rulers of the state didn’t care about the mass exodus of mechanics and salespeople heading to the Lone Star State.

The loss was formerly compensated for by people moving into the state. The Los Angeles Times noted the exchange between people with more advanced degrees leaving California was exceeded or balanced by people with advanced degrees and advanced incomes moving into the state.

But that positive trade balance is long gone.

According to the Times, “What’s different is that in each of the prior two years, more than 250,000 Californians with at least a bachelor’s degree moved out, while an average of 175,000 college graduates from other states settled in California, according to an analysis of census data by William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.”

The disparity between those arriving and those leaving is stark. This doesn’t include the massive influx of illegal migrants.

“But by 2020-21, California transplants in Texas reported an average income of about $137,000, while tax returns from former Texans who moved to California showed an average income of $75,000,” said the Times.

“The income gap between those coming into California and those going out is even bigger when it comes to Florida, which, as far away as it is, has become a top-five destination for emigrating Californians,” the publication continued.

The income disparity is significant for California, where the legislature spends money like it is automatically replenished.

This year, California is facing a $68 billion budget deficit. The high earners could have come in handy since “California heavily depends on high earners to meet government fiscal needs. [and] The recent out-migration has been particularly pronounced among Californians with graduate and professional degrees.”

Those fleeing the state are mostly those in peak earning years between 35 and 44 years old.

Fellow at Chapman University Joel Kotkin sums up the situation, “There’s a price to pay for the movement of middle- and upper-income people and corporations. People who are leaving are taking their tax dollars with them.”

California is a costly place to live.

High crime, taxes, and increased property values in the bigger cities.

The Los Angeles Times says the “premium to live in California may be 40% to 50% over the national average.” 

That is a substantial amount to pay for wildfires and pleasant weather.

California is a case study in incompetent government that can negate the previous “worth it” value for ocean views and weather.

People with advanced incomes, degrees, and angst say the answer is “Yes” and leave.