How Liberals Explain the Decision to Leave California

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Residents of the New York metropolitan area have become accustomed to a common variety of politically “progressive” but ultimately sensible neighbors. In a typical case, vociferous calls for higher property taxes to meet critical community needs are followed by a less voluble announcement that the family is moving to a place where one can enjoy more house for the money, coincidentally in a jurisdiction imposing a lower cost of government. Such transitions can be difficult, perhaps even when explaining them to neighbors.

Meanwhile on the left coast, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli conducts a “California exit interview” with a young couple who have reluctantly decided to head south and east:

Alison Grady and Ernest Brown made a spreadsheet of places they wanted to live a few years ago, and Oakland came out on top... But they knew they were living on borrowed time.

“You can’t go to a party or a house or a bar with twenty-somethings” without the high cost of housing coming up, said Brown, who chaired the board of the pro-housing YIMBY Action organization. “Because however much fun people are having, there’s a low sense of dread constantly that this party can end at any moment if there’s a rent increase.”

Same goes for people who need more space to start a family. That’s where Grady and Brown are now... They just moved to Atlanta, where they can buy a bigger place in a similar downtown neighborhood for half as much.

So far so good, but then comes Mr. Garofoli’s odd explanation of the event that triggered the relocation:

They said the final straw came last year when California voters rejected Proposition 15, which would have raised property taxes on commercial property to help schools and local governments. Its rejection made the couple wonder if the public school system would ever improve.

“The decision to under-invest in the public infrastructure that is particularly important to families raising children in California makes (living here) such a hard bargain,” Brown said.

Leaving California because the Golden State doesn’t tax and spend enough is not the answer one would expect, but the happy couple should still enjoy all the bargains that the Peach State has to offer. When it comes to education, California spends around 15% more per pupil than Georgia, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Census Department. Looking at overall state and local general expenditures, the left-leaning Tax Policy Center shows California spending exceeding that of Georgia by significantly more. No surprise, the Tax Foundation finds that the departing Californians are migrating to a state with a much lower tax burden—California has the country’s eighth-largest tax burden relative to income, while Georgia ranks a very pleasant 41st.

Perhaps before departing Oakland the young couple should let their neighbors know about the better deal on government available in Georgia. Existing Georgia residents can only hope that the newcomers understand why the living is so much easier and more affordable than in California.

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Source:" WSJ "

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