Opting Out Of California

It's one thing to hear about the exodus from California, with more people (and businesses) leaving the Golden State than arriving. It's just a statistic. But when one of those people, and specifically a businessman, decides to opt out and pull up stakes, it becomes more personal and a little bit less of a statistic.

I am one of those evil “high-earners” in California with income over $200,000 per year. It is unimportant to state legislators that we high-earners pay most of California’s taxes. According to the Franchise Tax Board, in 2007 more than 87 percent of California capital gains taxes came from taxpayers with adjusted incomes of more than $200,000. Residents with incomes over $200,000 pay 66 percent of its income taxes even though [they] earn just 39 percent of the state's income. More important to California’s future, most of us are small businesses, which account for 65 percent of new job growth in the state.

Taxing the folks earning the most to the point where they decide it's better for them to leave rather than be treated as nothing more than the state government's ATM is not the way for California to balance its budget. Nor is it a move towards fiscal sanity. It's just a more modern version of killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Apparently the folks in Sacramento and the people that put them there haven't figured out that if you punish people for being successful they will either work less hard and be less successful or they will pack up and leave for greener pastures. The net outmigration points to the latter. An already dire financial situation will become worse as the sources of revenue for the state depart.

Socialist California will fall prey to Thatcher's Dictum: “The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” That's evident since the people with the money are voting with their feet and taking their money with them, opting out of the California dream turned nightmare.