What Texas can teach California about curbing homelessness

L.A. and San Francisco continue to struggle while big cities elsewhere make progress. But there’s hope.

Rent is surging nationwide. Homelessness rates rose an astonishing 15% on average in major cities last year. It seems like the rest of the United States is waking up to what California has been living for decades.

But underneath these headlines emerges a more hopeful story as some metropolitan areas make significant progress to render homelessness rare and brief. Raleigh, N.C., led major U.S. cities in reducing homelessness by 40% between 2022 and 2023. Texas cities also stand out: Last year, the Houston metropolitan area achieved the lowest rate of homelessness of any major U.S. city, with just 52 people per 100,000 residents experiencing homelessness (compared to 734 people per 100,000 in Los Angeles). Even Austin, which has a higher homelessness rate than other cities in the state, reduced homelessness by 25% in one year.

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Meanwhile, five of the top 10 major cities with the highest rates of homelessness nationally are in California: San Francisco, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland and Sacramento, in that order. In 2022, the homelessness rate in San Francisco was nearly 20 times higher than in Houston, and Los Angeles’ was almost 14 times higher. Over the longer term, homelessness in Los Angeles rose 56% between 2015 and 2022, while it declined in Houston by 32%.

So what is making the difference in Texas and elsewhere? Can progress reach big cities in California, the state that is home to 28% of the entire country’s homeless population?

First and foremost, other places are building more housing of all types. The Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin metro areas are all in the top 10 for housing production, while San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose are all in the back half of the pack. These metro areas are also working together on a regional approach to homelessness that differs from California’s largely fragmented response. For example, in Houston, one planning body — called a continuum of care — coordinates federal dollars and homelessness response across the metropolitan area. In California, every county and also some municipalities have separate continua of care.

The Golden State has treated the housing shortage with urgency and adopted reforms to the Regional Housing Needs Allocation planning process to increase housing supply, including affordable housing for qualifying households, dramatically by 2030. Such a plan is necessary. But it will of course take years to complete.

In the meantime, our leaders have a moral, political and economic mandate to reduce the harm that homelessness inflicts on individuals, families and communities. And there are more solutions California cities can adopt today to address homelessness. While some may dismiss temporary interventions such as safe camping, parking and shelter as mere window dressing compared to long-term solutions, the reality is that people experiencing homelessness struggle every day to find somewhere to rest.

First, localities should recognize that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Just 3.6% of Los Angeles County’s 2022-2023 homelessness spending was devoted to prevention such as emergency rental assistance, eviction defense and direct payments. But the recent availability of once-in-a-generation federal aid during the pandemic created a natural experiment that showed the potential of spending more on preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place.

Just to the north in Santa Clara County, for instance, homelessness grew by 31% between 2017 and 2019. Then, during the pandemic, the county reached an estimated 16,000 vulnerable households with prevention assistance, and homelessness grew by only 3% between 2019 and 2022.

California’s biggest metro areas can also improve their approach to the overlap between mental health and homelessness. Texas cities including Houston and Dallas have had success with the Housing First model that focuses on getting people into housing before tackling other issues they face, such as addiction. Bad-faith attacks against this strategy, in California and elsewhere, aren’t backed by real evidence.

We also need better ways to respond to people with behavioral health and substance abuse emergencies that do not automatically expose them to police while also respecting everyone’s right to be safe. Models from Denver and other cities provide a roadmap to do so. One study found that Denver’s use of emergency mental health professionals reduced crime and cost less than a traditional police response.

Los Angeles has already begun implementing an alternative crisis response model, but staffing challenges have hampered its effectiveness, indicating a need for workforce development. Those efforts can complement the county’s Office of Diversion and Reentry Housing program, which has had success disrupting the cycle of incarceration and homelessness (about a quarter of the county jail population is homeless).

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Why do California, Texas differ so much? Religion, priorities of white minority play huge roles, poll shows

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas —  A Californian suddenly transported to this South Texas town on a Sunday morning, just in time for the service at the Tree of Life evangelical church, might be hard-pressed to know she wasn’t in California anymore.

California has more megachurches than any other state, so the nature of the congregation wouldn’t provide the tip-off. Rows of pickup trucks in the large parking lot might be a tell, but the percentage of Texans who drive trucks is actually around the national average.

Even if the Californian began asking for political opinions, she’d still have trouble proving she was in Texas.

“We’re a diverse congregation,” said Kristen Kallus-Guerra, a congregant who serves as a greeter at the church doors. “Around the election, our pastor always reminds us to go out and vote — but he doesn’t tell us who to vote for.”

The most obvious evidence that the Tree of Life Church was in Texas would be the number of Dak Prescott jerseys. At least five congregants wore the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback’s No. 4 uniform to church on a recent November morning.

The diversity of Texas can surprise people used to viewing the state through the lens of its very conservative public policies.

The people of the two states do not differ nearly as much as their governance, according to a poll of roughly 1,600 California and Texas residents, conducted by YouGov for the Los Angeles Times.

California versus Texas is a rivalry without parallel. The nation’s two most populous states are political mirror images — the liberal bastion on the left coast, and the conservative Southern garrison on the Gulf.

California fervently protects abortion rights; Texas bans nearly all abortions. Texas upholds gun rights; California strictly regulates firearms. California plans to ban new gasoline-powered cars by 2035; Texas has banned companies that divest from fossil fuels from doing business with the state.

But a plurality of respondents in both California and Texas identified as moderates — 32% of Californians, and 31% of Texans — the poll found. Moderate can mean very different things to different people, but on specific policy questions, residents of the two states were often surprisingly close.

Asked if government should do more to solve problems and help the needs of people, majorities in both states said yes — 61% of Californians and 55% of Texans. The opposing view, that government does “too many things better left to businesses and individuals” was only a bit more popular in Texas, 34%, than in California, 26%.

Asked about government benefits, 55% of Californians and 50% of Texans agreed that “poor people have hard lives because government benefits don’t go far enough to provide a decent standard of living.”

Even on the most hot-button issues — abortion, same-sex marriage, climate change — the poll found that the differences between Californians and Texans came down to a difference that’s fewer than 10 percentage points.

The poll shows that one demographic group has an outsized impact in widening the political gulf between the two states — white residents, who also are more likely to vote than other racial groups. Religious belief is a major factor in why white residents of Texas and California hold opposing views, the poll indicates.

Overall, the poll illuminates one of the central aspects of America’s political divide: Rather than huge splits in public opinion, the gap between America’s quintessential red and blue states comes down to tipping points.

Texans, on average, lean a few points to the right, Californians, a few more points to the left. Those leanings tip politics in each state, empowering conservative Republicans in Texas and liberal Democrats in California who have driven policy in opposite directions, magnifying differences between two states that otherwise have much in common.

***

If it weren’t for their political reputations, it might be easier to see California and Texas as twins, not foils.

Both western states, with their dramatic landscapes, used to be part of Mexico; both have brutal colonial pasts, with Spaniards and later Americans waging wars of removal against Native peoples. The early economies of California and Texas were defined by cattle and agriculture and later oil. In the last few decades, California, and increasingly Texas, have benefited from a boom in tech and venture capital.

Latinos make up the largest group in both states, a little over 40% of the population in each, according to the most recent Census. Non-Latino white residents are a minority in both states (34.7% of the population in California and 39.8% in Texas).

Texans are more rural — or more likely to label their communities that way: 30% of Texans, but just 15% of Californians, say they live in a rural area or small town, the poll found. Half of Californians, but just a third of Texans, say they live in an urban area.

It’s easy to forget that as recently as the 1990s, Texas was a mostly Democratic state. Democratic control began to crumble in the 1980s, but only ended in 1994 with the political ascension of a popular governor and heir to a political dynasty: George W. Bush.

Bush’s rise set the tone for Texas politics over the next three decades. Take guns, for instance.

When Bush ousted Democratic governor Ann Richards, it was still illegal to own a handgun in Texas. The year before that election, after the bloody battle in Waco between law enforcement agents and a religious cult known as the Branch Davidians, Richards vetoed a bill that would have made handguns legal. In his campaign, Bush used that veto as a wedge issue.

It proved highly successful. Thirty years later, Texans can legally carry concealed handguns in public — without any license.

***

California moved in the opposite direction over roughly the same period.

Several issues spurred political organizing that helped drive the state to the left: Then-Gov. Pete Wilson’s campaign in 1994 for Proposition 187, a ballot measure aimed at cutting off social services to unauthorized immigrants, increased voter registration and mobilization among Latino residents. A revived labor movement led to growing union power and influence — about 1 in 5 California residents have a union member in their family, roughly twice the level in Texas, the poll found.

Few issues, however, have had more grassroots impact on the state than environmentalism.

When he was 4, Jeremy Terhune’s family moved from Kansas to Stockton.

In the early ‘90s, as Terhune grew up, Stockton blended more seamlessly into the ranch and farmland of California’s Central Valley. But in the last 20 years, Stockton has transformed. With a population of 322,000, it has absorbed thousands of residents priced out of the Bay Area.

Stockton is hard to define. It is, by some measures, the United States’ most racially diverse city. While more liberal than the surrounding counties of the Central Valley, the city still elected a Republican mayor in 2020 (albeit in a nonpartisan election).

Terhune has spent more time thinking about Stockton’s political values than most. For over a decade, he worked as a community organizer with environmental groups in Stockton and the Valley.

He had to learn a key lesson.

“You have to start by asking questions; you have to meet people where they’re at,” Terhune said. “When it comes to people who aren’t what some call traditional environmentalists — like farmers, or hunters, or even the Latino community — I start by asking how they recreate. Where they get outdoors, even if it’s just a park.”

Terhune’s work culminated in founding PUENTES, an organization dedicated to making underserved communities environmentally healthier and more sustainable. The organization’s biggest victory was founding Boggs Tract Community Farm, a large urban garden in a predominantly Black neighborhood.

“We took a garbage dump, got the soil tested, and converted it into an organic farm,” Terhune says. “Now all of a sudden, everybody’s a gardener— suddenly urban gardening is a thing in Stockton.”

Efforts like that have made environmental values a major part of California culture. As the Democratic party nationally embraced environmentalism, and the Republicans moved away from it, that helped cement the state’s Democratic identity.

The impact can be seen in how California residents view climate change — 70% percent say climate change is a “serious” issue, including just over half, 51%, who call it “very serious.”

In Texas, by comparison, 62% call the issue serious, but only a minority, 42% said it was very serious.

Terhune points to a century-long history of community organizing to explain why California is culturally green: the Sierra Club was founded in San Francisco in 1892.

As the environment changes in Texas — the state just had one of its hottest summers in history in the midst of a exceptional drought — attitudes there might change as well, Terhune suggests. He points to the devastating 2021 February winter freeze, which brought the state’s electrical grid to the point of collapse.

“I think Texans are just as environmental and just as engaged in environmental justice as we are,” Terhune says. “But it’s about making that connection — and [after these storms] people are more aware of the environment.”

***

Like Stockton, New Braunfels has gone through a period of explosive change — it’s one of the fastest-growing places in the country, with a population of roughly 100,000. It’s the sort of place that will define Texas’ future.

Once rural ranchland, New Braunfels has been transformed into a bustling suburb between two of the country’s largest cities — San Antonio is about 20 minutes south, and Austin is 40 minutes north.

That makes New Braunfels the sort of place where aspects of Texan culture collide — and that includes politics.

San Antonio and Austin each went heavily for Joe Biden in the last election, and rural Texas went strongly for Donald Trump. New Braunfels was something of a swing district.

Of course, politics aren’t the only thing that makes the culture of New Braunfels diverse.

At the Tree of Life Sunday service, the choruses to the worship songs were sung in English and Spanish. The Latino — Tejano, more specifically — influence of South Texas is clearly present.

After the 75-minute service on the first weekend in November, Kallus-Guerra sat chatting with other members of the congregation.

With the outline of the state tattooed behind her right ear, Kallus-Guerra is proud to be Texan, although she says she has trouble defining what precisely being Texan means.

Texas identity matters in this state — 50% of residents said that being a Texan was a “big part” of their identity, compared to 44% of Californians who felt that way about their state. That’s true even though the share of people who are recent arrivals is significantly higher in Texas than in California.

“As far as like California-Texas, they can be different, sure,” she said. “But everyone has differences.”

Kallus-Guerra has met enough first-time churchgoers coming through the doors that she recognizes that some things about people — their needs, their yearnings — are more universal.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

841,065 left California. Where will you find them?

Nevada had the greatest inflow from California as a share of all residents.

“Numerology” tries to find reality within various measurements of economic and real estate trends.

Buzz: Where did 841,065 ex-Californians go in 2021? That’s an outflow larger than the number of people living in Wyoming or Vermont or Alaska or North Dakota or the District of Columbia.

Source: My trusty spreadsheet looked at the latest state-to-state migration data from the Census Bureau to see where that flock might have the biggest clout within their new home state.

Fuzzy math: What might be the potential influence of all these ex-Californians?

Topline

Let’s start with the raw number of relocations.

The top destination was Texas, with 107,546 moving from California to the Lone Star State in 2021. Next was Arizona at 69,432, Nevada at 62,437, Washington at 57,576, Oregon at 51,623, Florida at 37,464, Colorado at 33,648, New York at 31,335, Georgia at 28,908, Idaho at 27,193, and Utah at 23,219.

Note: Seven of those 10 states are west of the Mississippi.

Conversely, Delaware got the fewest ex-Californians, with just 116. Then came West Virginia at 368, Vermont at 1,043, North Dakota at 1,525 and South Dakota at 1,670.

Details

Let’s compare those big relocations to state populations. We are translating migration patterns into the odds that you’d bump into an ex-Californian, class of 2021.

There’s a 50-to-1 chance that a resident of Nevada moved there from California in 2021. Yes, 62,437 California transplants vs. a state population of 3.11 million add up to one of every 50 Nevadans. No state had a greater inflow of Californians.

Next on my scorecard of ex-California influence was Idaho at 69-to-1, then Oregon at 82-to-1, Hawaii at 89-to-1, and Arizona at 104-to-1.

Or look at California’s main economic rivals. There’s 271-to-1 odds a Texan is a former Californian, Class of 2021. That’s the 15th highest. In Florida, it’s 576-to-1, No. 34.

And where’s it hardest to find this group of ex-Californians?

Tops? Delaware at 8,575-to-1 odds, then West Virginia at 4,804-to-1, Kentucky at 1,716-to-1, Alabama at 1,481-to-1, and Louisiana at 1,333-to-1.

Bottom line

When Californians leave, they often don’t leave the West.

Click here to read the full article in the Press Enterprise

Texas migrants bused to LA Union Station in latest salvo from immigration wars

The group included children, whose conditions were being assessed after riding on a bus with no food or water for 23 hours, one official said.

Mirroring recent moves by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, dozens of immigrants were bused from the Texas border area to Los Angeles and dropped off on Wednesday, June 14, at downtown’s Union Station, at the behest of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, prompting a swift rebuke from L.A. Mayor Karen Bass, who slammed the action as a “cheap” political stunt using humans as “pawns.”

All told, 42 immigrants — among them said to be eight children, including babies and toddlers — were dropped off at the depot, said Jorge-Mario Cabrera, director of communications for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA). They were taken to St. Anthony’s Croatian Catholic Church in nearby Chinatown, where they were expected to stay the night. Los Angeles Fire Department crews responded to ensure none of them had any medical issues.

Related: Relief groups rally to help migrants bused to LA 

Cabrera said they were on the bus with no food or water for 23 hours, but their conditions were unclear late Wednesday. Police and fire officials were directing all such inquires to the mayor’s office. Bass’ office said they were in the process of documenting the group’s conditions.

In a statement, Abbott said this was the “1st bus of migrants” dropped off by Texas in Los Angeles.

“Texas’ small border towns remain overwhelmed and overrun by the thousands of people illegally crossing into Texas from Mexico because of President Biden‘s refusal to secure the border,” Abbott said in the statement. “Los Angeles is a major city that migrants seek to go to, particularly now that its city leaders approved its self-declared sanctuary city status. Our border communities are on the front lines of President Biden’s border crisis, and Texas will continue providing this much-needed relief until he steps up to do his job and secure the border.”

It was unclear if additional buses might be en route.

Bass said her office was aware of the bus’ arrival and was ready to greet the migrants when they arrived. She said her office had been preparing for such a moment, given similar recent actions across the country at the order of Republican governors.

“It is abhorrent that an American elected official is using human beings as pawns in his cheap political games,” Bass said in a statement.

“Shortly after I took office,” she added, “I directed City Departments to begin planning in the event Los Angeles was on the receiving end of a despicable stunt that Republican Governors have grown so fond of. This did not catch us off guard, nor will it intimidate us. Now, it’s time to execute our plan. Our emergency management, police, fire and other departments were able to find out about the incoming arrival while the bus was on its way and were already mobilized along with nonprofit partners before the bus arrived.”

Lindsay Toczylowski, with the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, explained lawyers are still trying to piece together what documents the migrants have and what their path to asylum will look like.

“We are meeting their hopes for safety and protection here at this welcome center, and by providing them with legal information, including a “Know Your Rights” presentation — giving them the information they need to protect themselves,” Toczylowski said.

But much about the migrants, including what information they had in hand that led them on to the bus, was not clear.

“We don’t know the information they were given to get on the bus,” Cabrera said.

Even confirming their identities appeared difficult, given little documentation.

The Los Angeles City Council last week approved a motion directing various city departments to take the steps required for Los Angeles to officially become a sanctuary city for immigrants.

In April 2022, Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to charter buses to transport migrants from Texas to Washington, D.C. Since then, Abbott has also sent migrants to Denver, New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia. The governor’s office has said that about 20,000 migrants have been transported to cities who have passed measures embracing sanctuary status for immigrants. Abbott’s office has said that such moves have offered “much-needed relief to Texas’ overwhelmed border communities.”

Earlier Wednesday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta said his office sent public records requests to DeSantis’ office and the Florida Division of Emergency Management seeking information about the recent transport of two groups of immigrants from Florida to northern California.

Bonta said his office is investigating whether any laws were broken by Florida in shipping the three dozen migrants to Sacramento. Gov. Gavin Newsom has suggested DeSantis could potentially face kidnapping charges for transporting the migrants to California, although Florida officials have insisted the migrants went to Florida voluntarily and signed documents agreeing to the travel.

“Contrary to what some may want to think – California is also a border state but instead of demonizing asylum seekers, we focus on working with local communities to support and humanely welcome people,” said Daniel Lopez, the governor’s communications director. “Regarding the recently arrived families, the state is in close communication with the County and City of Los Angeles, and our community partners. Together, we will make sure that the children and families who arrived are safe and welcomed.”

As news spread of the latest transport, other elected officials were chiming in.

“As the author of California’s Sanctuary State in 2017 and son of an immigrant mother, I can tell you that Governor Abbott’s heartless exploitation of asylum seekers is not shocking and reflects a tremendous lack of leadership,” said Councilmember Kevin de Leon. “Callously trafficking vulnerable human beings around for cheap political points reflects a moral bankruptcy that has no place in politics and Los Angeles will not allow this repugnant display of political opportunism to undermine our commitment to ensuring that every person, regardless of origin, is treated with dignity and respect.”

U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) issued a statement late Wednesday.

“Once again, Republicans exploit vulnerable migrants for cynical political gain instead of choosing to work with Democrats to fix our broken immigration system. California will not play Republican’s cowardly games and will treat asylum seekers with the dignity and humanity they deserve.”

Last week’s L.A. City Council action to set in motion sanctuary status for the city was previously OK’d by the council’s Civil Rights, Equity, Immigration, Aging and Disability Committee and the Public Safety Committee. It instructs the city attorney to prepare a draft ordinance within 60 days to prohibit “any city resources, property or personnel from being utilized for any federal immigration enforcement.”

It would also prohibit city cooperation with federal immigration authorities in “execution of their duties” as it pertains to immigration enforcement.

Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who introduced the motion with council members Eunisses Hernandez and Hugo Soto-Martínez, thanked “all the advocates, lawyers and organizations” who work to educate and protect the rights of immigrants.

“For many people in Los Angeles who have been advocating for the city to become an official sanctuary city for many years, this is a long overdue process,” Raman said.

Then-Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an executive directive in 2019 that offered protections to the immigrant community, but it lacked the permanence of a city law, according to Raman.

The council in a 12-0 vote, with council members Bob Blumenfield and John Lee absent, supported the motion Friday to create an official ordinance and codify existing protections set forth in the executive directive.

Last week, DeSantis’ administration said that three dozen migrants whom the state flew from the U.S. southern border to California on private planes all went willingly, disputing allegations by California officials that the individuals were coerced to travel under false pretenses.

The admission of responsibility — five days after the first flight touched down in California’s capital — only served to heighten tensions between DeSantis and Newsom, his frequent political sparring partner.

Two planes arrived in Sacramento, each carrying asylum-seekers mostly from Colombia and Venezuela. The individuals had been picked up in El Paso, Texas, taken to New Mexico and then put on charter flights to California’s capital of Sacramento, said Bonta. He is investigating whether any violations of criminal or civil law occurred.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

California Population Growth Lags

california-flagMost people think of California as the most desirable state in the union. Naturally it’s assumed that there’s heavy migration into the Golden State, with the population growing at a robust clip.  But for quite a number of years, that has not been the case.

At the bottom of this article are the just-released 50 states’ population figures for this past fiscal year in chart format. The states are listed in order from fastest to slowest growth.  Remember that the population growth of a state is the net total change considering births, deaths, migration between states and international migration.

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2018/estimates-national-state.html

Yes, the California population IS growing. But in spite of our state’s wonderful physical attributes, the growth is sub-par compared to the nation as a whole. In this latest 12 month period, the nation’s population grew 0.62%.  California grew 0.40%.  Stated differently, the country grew over 50% faster than California. I’ve been following this trend for years, and must report that this trend is not new.

The fastest growing state in this time frame was Nevada — growth that is heavily dependent on relocating Californians.  In a related vein, I should mention when when it comes to departing California businesses, the #2 relocation city is Reno, Nevada.  #3 is Las Vegas.  (#1 is Austin, Texas.)

https://riderrants.blogspot.com/2018/12/in-2016-1800-ca-companies-disinvested.html

Idaho is in a virtual tie with Nevada for population growth.  Both states’ population grew over 5 times faster than CA.  Almost all the Idaho growth is in the Boise area.  I think it’s fair to say that not a single Idaho arrival moved there for the weather.

The Texas population grew 1.34% — 3.35 times faster than California.  For the last 15 years, Texas population has grown more than twice as fast as California.

Overall California’s population growth ranked 25th in the nation.  Eight states actually LOST population this past year.  California is not THAT bad.

Yet. …

Click here to read the full article from the Flash Report

California Taxes, Over-Regulation Force 1,800 Businesses To Relocate

Leaving CaliforniaCalifornia – notorious for high taxes and a stifling regulatory environment – reportedly saw 1,800 businesses either relocate or disinvest from the state in 2016.

Business relocation consultant Joe Vranich wrote concerning the results of a new study he authored that he is advising clients “to leave the business-hostile state because its business climate continues to worsen,” according to Investors Business Daily.

Vranich, president of Spectrum Location Solutions LLC, noted that the 1,800 “disinvestment events” that occurred in 2016 were the most since 2008.

Additionally, 13,000 companies left the state during that nine-year period.

“Departures are understandable when year after year CEOs nationwide surveyed by Chief Executive Magazine have declared California the worst state in which to do business,” Vranich said.

“The top reason to leave the state no longer is high taxes,” he said. “The legal climate has become so difficult that companies should consider locating in jurisdictions where they will be treated fairly.”

One business regulation Vranich cited was California’s new Immigrant Worker Protection Act, which fines companies for following federal immigration law.

The consultant pointed out the law creates a dilemma for business owners: face fines either from the state or from the federal government.

“Think about it. California may penalize someone in business who is a legal citizen operating a legal business that is in compliance with every federal, state and local law, who pays state and local taxes, and who creates employment – and all that counts for nothing in the state’s eyes,” Vranich said. “Signs are that California politicians’ contempt for business will persist.”

Vranich argued that it’s not just this new law, it’s the plethora of other laws and regulations California businesses must comply with and the concern of what may be coming down the line.

The American Tort Reform Foundation said California is among the nation’s worst “Judicial Hellholes” for businesses.

According to the Vranich, three previous California governors – Gray Davis, Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian – have cited earlier versions of his business climate study to raise awareness of why companies are leaving the Golden State.

The top states where businesses are relocating, ranked in order, are: Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Virginia.

The top 10 urban areas gaining from the California exodus are Austin, Texas; Reno, Nevada; Las Vegas; Phoenix; Seattle; Dallas; Portland, Oregon; Denver; San Antonio; and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Among the businesses that have left the state in recent years are Toyota, Occidental Petroleum, Chevron, Nestle USA, Carl’s Jr., Jamba Juice and Numira Biosciences, according to Chief Executive Magazine.

There was a net outflow of approximately 143,000 Californians leaving in 2016 over people moving in from other states, based on numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The only reason the state’s population is not decreasing overall is due to the 100,000-plus people per year immigrating into California from other countries and the birth rate exceeding the death rate in the state.

In addition to business regulations driving people from the state, The Sacramento Bee reported that California lawmakers are concerned about the wealthiest residents fleeing due to high taxes.

California has the highest top income tax bracket in the nation at 13.3 percent, and its treasury receives a disproportionate 44 percent of income tax revenues from the top 1 percent of wage earners.

Vranich said he is glad he took his own advice and moved his business from California to the Pittsburgh suburb of Cranberry Township.

“I moved for three reasons — taxes, regulations and quality-of-life,” he said. “First, I’ll have greater freedom in my business now that I’m free of California’s notorious regulatory environment and threats of frivolous lawsuits that hurt small businesses like mine.”

“Finally, we are enjoying a superior qualify-of-life here. We bought a house larger than what we had in California for about half the cost. We can afford to engage in more activities because the cost-of-living in Cranberry Township is 44 percent lower than in Irvine.”

This article was originally published by Western Journalism

Nation’s Sixth Largest Company Moving Corporate HQ from California to Texas

leaving-californiaMcKesson Corp., the nation’s largest pharmaceutical distributor, announced today that it will relocate its headquarters from San Francisco to Irving in April.

The company, which delivers prescription drugs and medical supplies, has more than 75,000 employees globally and had revenue of $208 billion last year. It ranks sixth on the Fortune 500 list, behind only Walmart, Exxon Mobil, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple and UnitedHealth Group.

With its move, McKesson will become the second-largest company by revenue to be based in North Texas, surpassing AT&T Inc. The largest, Exxon Mobil, is also headquartered in Irving.

Dallas-Fort Worth had 22 Fortune 500 company headquarters this year. That’ll grow next year with the addition of McKesson and another California transplant, San Francisco-based Core-Mark Holding Co., which is relocating to Westlake. …

Click here to read the full article from the Dallas News

Second-Largest CA Firm May Be Heading To Texas

welcome to Texas 2California could be on the brink of one of its biggest corporate defections yet with the signs that McKesson Corp. – the pharmaceutical giant that is sixth on the Fortune 500 list – is preparing to move its headquarters from San Francisco to the Dallas area.

Apple is the only California company that’s bigger than McKesson, which has 75,000-plus employees and had $198 billion in annual revenue last fiscal year.

McKesson saw its profile increase greatly in 2017 after a joint investigation by the Washington Post and CBS “60 Minutes”alleged that the company had played a central role in the national opioid epidemic by failing to report “suspicious orders involving millions of highly addictive painkillers.” Yet it’s long been considered one of the 10 biggest companies “you’ve never heard of” by the InvestorPlace website and other business trackers.

Firm sold San Francisco headquarters

Now, according to a connect-the-dots report by the San Francisco Business Times, its days in the Golden State may be numbered. McKesson officially denied it was looking to move. But the newspaper noted a number of seemingly linked developments:

  • The remarks of an official with Irving Economic Development Partnership that hinted McKesson was considering an expansion of its already “major commitment” to Irving. McKesson’s $157 million regional headquarters opened in 2016 in the business-friendly suburb of Dallas that already has the headquarters of such corporate giants as ExxonMobil, Fluor Corp and Kimberly-Clark. The state of Texas provided $9.75 million in subsidies to encourage McKesson’s decision.
  • The announcement that CEO John Hammergren will retire on March 31, 2019, and be succeeded by McKesson executive Brian Tyler, who lives in Las Colinas, a posh Irving neighborhood. His possible relocation was not directly addressed.
  • McKesson’s 2017 decision to sell its San Francisco headquarters for more than $300 million in favor of an arrangement in which it leased offices at the facility.

Given how much cheaper it usually is for a company to own rather than lease a large headquarters, the sale looks in retrospect like a warning sign to city leaders that their richest company was preparing to move.

McKesson would be hardest hit by new ‘homeless tax’

Nonetheless, besides Mayor London Breed, the city’s political establishment offered relatively little pushback to a successful tax measure on San Francisco’s Nov. 6 ballot that will take its single biggest toll on McKesson – at least if the company stays in the city.

To fund increased programs for the homeless, Measure C imposes a gross receipts tax on San Francisco-based companies which have $50 million or more in annual revenue. With $198 billion in fiscal 2017, McKesson is by far the highest-grossing San Francisco-based firm. Measure C is expected to generate $300 million a year, boosting the $380 million that City Hall now spends on homelessness.

If McKesson does leave, it will join the more than 1,700 companies whose decisions to abandon the Golden State have been documented since 2008. The traditional corporate complaints about California having high taxes and heavy regulations have been expanded in recent years to include concerns about the high cost of housing making it difficult to attract and retain workers.

Among the most prominent departures: Toyota moved its U.S. headquarters from Torrance to the Dallas suburb of Plano; energy giant Occidental Petroleum moved its headquarters from Los Angeles to Houston; and the Nestle USA food conglomerate moved its headquarters from Glendale to Rosslyn, Virginia, in the Washington suburbs.

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Did California save Ted Cruz?

ap_ted-cruz_ap-photo-3-640x426Chuck DeVore is just one of thousands of former Californians who have moved to Texas. But DeVore is unique. Not only did he serve in the California Assembly, but he remains heavily engaged in policy issues as Vice President of National Initiatives at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a free market think tank based in Austin.

DeVore is a frequent guest on national television shows to speak on economic issues, including how progressive policies suppress economic growth. Moreover, he has firsthand experience with the movement of people and money between the two economic titans, California and Texas.

The migration of businesses from California to Texas is well-documented. Big names, like Charles Schwab, Campbell’s Soup, Burger King, Waste Management and other billion-dollar businesses severed their California connections for Lone Star liberty. In fact, it was entertaining to watch the sparring between then-Texas Governor Rick Perry — who frequented California to poach businesses from California — and the Golden State’s own Jerry Brown who tried to portray Texas as hick-country governed by a buffoon.

More than just businesses, it is people who have left California in numbers significantly larger than those coming in from other states. From 2007 to 2016, California has experienced net domestic out-migration of a million citizens, and the number-one destination? You guessed it. Texas. Of course, that doesn’t mean that California has lost population, in fact it has gained. But those gains have come from immigration – both documented and otherwise — and new births.

To read the entire column, please click here.

Say it ain’t so: Is Texas turning into California?

Laffer1When economist James Gaines gave a talk recently about the economy and the real estate market, his biggest audience response came from an unexpected topic.

Gaines, chief economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, told hundreds of local real estate agents what to expect in the years ahead regarding the state’s population growth and demographic changes.

“Do you know what Texas looks like in 30 years?” Gaines asked the audience.

“California,” he offered as the whole ballroom of folks groaned and rolled their eyes.

Nothing gets a bunch of Texans more riled up than to tell them they are turning into California.

“I have used that line a number of times and get the same reaction,” Gaines said. “People are always asking where are we going and what will we look like.

“I’m serious about it,” he said. “The problems, the issues, politically, socially, economically, land use, housing resources — go down and tick off the issues. We are going down the same path.”

Gaines said the rapid growth of jobs, population and wealth that California has seen over the past few decades is similar to what Texas is now experiencing. That means the state faces the same opportunities and increasing challenges. …

Click here to read the full article from the Dallas News