From an article in the L.A. Times of all places:
The Golden State isn’t worth it
Our high-benefit/high-tax model no longer works, especially compared with low-tax states like Texas.
Actually, it never worked. The only difference is you can no longer avoid seeing the disaster you have created.
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.
Nobody is surprised by this but Liberals.
California and Texas are not perfect representatives of the alternative deals, but they come close. Overall, the Census Bureau’s latest data show that state and local government expenditures for all purposes in 2005-06 were 46.8% higher in California than in Texas…
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.
These folks pulling up stakes and driving U-Haul trucks across state lines understand a reality the defenders of the high-benefit/high-tax model must confront: All things being equal, everyone would rather pay low taxes than high ones…
Conservative Texans, do not believe for a moment that all of these Liberals moving here have learned a lesson. They only bring their big-government mindsets with them, forcing us to fight them here, on our home turf. Get ready for it.
According to a report issued earlier this year by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., Texas students “are, on average, one to two years of learning ahead of California students of the same age,” even though per-pupil expenditures on public school students are 12% higher in California…
That report does not even factor in the large number of home-schoolers in Texas, who consistently out-perform their public counterparts year after year.
In what respects, then, does California “excel”? California’s state and local government employees were the best compensated in America, according to the Census Bureau date for 2006. And the latest posting on the website of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility shows 9,223 former civil servants and educators receiving pensions worth more than $100,000 a year from California’s public retirement funds. The “dues” paid by taxpayers in order to belong to Club California purchase benefits that, increasingly, are enjoyed by the staff instead of the members.
And this is the tarpit Liberals have voted us into on a nationwide scale. The largest growth sector in the American economy under Obama has been, you guessed it, the public sector: BIG GOVERNMENT.
None of this happens by accident. California’s interlocking directorate of government employee unions, issue activists, careerists and campaign contributors has become increasingly aggressive and adept at using rhetoric extolling public benefits for all to deliver targeted advantages to itself. As a result, the political reality of the high-benefit/high-tax model is that its public goods are, increasingly, neither public nor good. Instead, the beneficiaries are the providers of the public services, and certain favored or connected constituencies, rather than the general population…
This has been the case in all collectivist societies for centuries. If you had bothered to crack a history book, you could have learned this lesson the easy way.