Having no income tax is just one of the many factors that would attract people to live in a state and people are moving with their feet every day. One prominent political consultant in California who worked to stop Jerry Brown’s new taxes in this past election has already committed to moving his family to Austin, Texas. It is estimated the outflow of families from California is now at a rate of 250,000 people per year. Some say the only people left in California soon will be Hollywood types, Silicon Valley people, the Gays in San Francisco and immigrants (legal and other). Republican strongholds like the Inland Empire lost congressional seats not because Republicans voted for the Democrats or changed parties, but because the Republicans now live in Arizona, Texas, or North Carolina.
It is not just taxes that drive people to certain states. It is lifestyle decisions and other matters that are decided by the governments within the states. Pennsylvania is having a mini-boom which may become a major boom as the Republicans are moving forward with fracking major new energy supplies. Along their northern border, the Democrats of New York have dithered on the same issue. Chief executives have chosen their top ten states in which to do business and all ten are Republican-controlled states. Of their ten worst states, six are completely controlled by Democrats with California, New York, and Illinois being the three worst. Two of the least-favorable states are Ohio and Michigan, which were recently taken over by Republicans.
We are seeing a phenomenon that has not previously happened in America. States are really doing federalism to the max. They are saying we are going to run our states in a certain way to attract business and people. Companies and people are looking not only at the jobs and tax structure of a state, but other matters such as cost of living and lifestyle and saying that is where they want to live. America has always been a mobile society, but it is now becoming even more so along political, economic, and philosophical lines.
To this I say let’s get it on. Let’s see whose ideas are better. People move to America because of the idea of America. Now Americans are going either to Texas or California based on governments and the economic environment created there. Do people think things are really better in California, Illinois, or New York? Let’s see where this journey takes us. We will soon see which philosophy of state government is better and that will hopefully spread to our federal government.
I am up for the contest and savor the battle of ideas.
Next week we will discuss how the Republicans can engage this federalism to diffuse some churning issues.