Skip to comments.Texas vs. California - California may be dreaming, but Texas is working
Posted on 03/14/2012 7:37:45 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
One in five Americans calls California or Texas home. The two most populous states have a lot in common: a long coast, a sunny climate, a diverse population, plenty of oil in the ground, and Mexico to the south. Where they diverge is in their governance.
For six years ending in 2010, I represented almost 500,000 people in Californias legislature. I was vice chairman of the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation and served on the Budget Committee. I was even a lieutenant colonel in the states National Guard. Before serving in Sacramento, I worked as an executive in Californias aerospace industry.
I moved to Texas late last year, joining the 2 million Californians who have packed up for greener pastures in the past ten years, with Texas the most common destination.
In his State-of-the-State address this January, California governor Jerry Brown said, Contrary to those declinists who sing of Texas and bemoan our woes, California is still the land of dreams. . . . Its the place where Apple . . . and countless other creative companies all began.
Fast forward to March: Apple announced it was building a $304 million campus in Austin with plans to hire 3,600 people to staff it, more than doubling its Texas workforce.
California may be dreaming, but Texas is working.
Californias elected officials are particularly adept at dreaming up ways to spend other peoples money. While the state struggles with interminable deficits caused by years of reckless spending, the argument in Sacramento isnt over how to reduce government; rather, its over how much to raise taxes and on whom. Governor Brown is pushing for a tax increase of $6.9 billion per year, to appear on this Novembers ballot. Californias powerful government-employee unions and Molly Munger, a wealthy civil-rights attorney (wealthy by dint of being the daughter of Warren Buffetts business partner) are offering two competing tax-hike plans. The silver lining may be that having three tax hikes on the ballot will turn voters off all of them.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in Texas are grappling with a fiscal question of an entirely different sort: whether or not to spend some of the $6 billion set aside in the states rainy-day fund.
Californias government-employee unions routinely spend tens of millions of dollars at election time to maintain their hold on power. In Texas, the government unions are weak and dont have collective bargaining, leaving trial attorneys as the main source of funding for Lone Star Democrats.
Californias habit of raising taxes to fund a burgeoning regulatory state isnt without impact on its economy. Californians fork over about 10.6 percent of their income to state and local governments, above the U.S. average of 9.8 percent. Texans pay 7.9 percent. This affects the bottom line of both consumers and businesses.
With that money, Californians pay for more government. The number of non-education bureaucrats in California is close to the national average, at 252 per 10,000 people. Texas gets by with a bureaucracy 22 percent smaller: 196 per 10,000.
Of course, having more government employees means making more government rules. According to a 2009 study commissioned by the California legislature, state regulations cost almost $500 billion per year, or five times the states general-fund budget. These regulations ding the average small business for some $134,122 a year in compliance and opportunity costs.
While California has more bureaucrats, Texas has 17 percent more teachers, with 295 education employees per 10,000 people, compared to Californias 252.
The two states educational outcomes reflect this disparity. If we compare national test scores in math, science, and reading for the fourth and eighth grades among four basic ethnic and racial categories all students, whites, Hispanics, and African-Americans Texas beats California in every category, and by a substantial margin. In fact, Texas schools perform consistently above the national average across categories of age, race, and subject matter, while California schools perform well below the national average.
Apologists for the Golden State frequently point to Texass flourishing oil and gas industry as the reason for its success. Texas does lead the nation in proven oil reserves, but California ranks third. The real difference isnt in geology but in public policy: Californians have decided to make it difficult to extract the oil under their feet.
Further, contrary to popular opinion, Californias refineries routinely produce a greater value of product than do refineries in Texas, mainly because the special gasoline blends that California requires are more costly.
Another advantage that Texas enjoys over California is in its civil-justice system. In 2002, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked Texass legal system 46th in the nation, just behind Californias, which was 45th. Texas went to work improving its lawsuit environment, enacting major medical-malpractice reforms in 2003. Texass ranking consequently jumped ten places in eight years, while Californias dropped to 46th. In the last legislative session, Texas lawmakers passed a landmark loser-pays provision, which promises to further curtail frivolous lawsuits.
While California seeks more ways to tax success, it excels at subsidizing poverty. The percentage of households receiving public assistance in California was 3.7 percent in 2009, double Texass rate of 1.8 percent. Almost one-third of all Americans on welfare reside in California.
With this in mind, it makes perfect sense that only 18 percent of the Democrats who control both houses of Californias full-time legislature worked in business or medicine before being elected. The remainder drew paychecks from government, worked as community organizers, or were attorneys.
In Texas, with its part-time legislature, 75 percent of the Republicans who control both houses earn a living in business, farming, or medicine, with 19 percent being attorneys in private practice. Texas Democrats are more than twice as likely as their California counterparts to claim private-sector experience outside the field of law.
That Texass legislature is run by makers and Californias by takers is glaringly obvious from the two states respective balance sheets.
OMG! This is a crisis1 What can we do to keep these California cretins out of Texas? I lived in Austin for years during the dotcom boom and I can tell from experience that Calimmigrants can ruin Texas quicker than you can imagine.
I didn't know Chuck moved to Texas. Well done!!
Just as they did Oregon and Washington. The brighter, greener pastures they move to soon become dull and brown.
We haven’t yet had that problem here in VA, but we have our own infestation of rot from blighted Maryland.
I hate to bring up a sore point, but when it comes to Education the reprot states TX is doing great for 4th and 8th grade kids - better than most of the country. We also have one of the lowest cost per student - that is because GWB put in place what is the model for NCLB. Education works when there is accountability! NCLB was the first time teachers across America had to face an annual review of perfomrance.
California is becoming a wasteland. The communists Democrats have destroyed this State and it is still going off the deep end with more taxes and regulations that have driven much of the real businesses and hundreds of thousand of it best citizens out of the State.
“In Texas, with its part-time legislature, 75 percent of the Republicans who control both houses earn a living in business, farming, or medicine...”
Regardless of the reelection rates Texas is dominated by part-time politicians as our founding fathers envisioned 230 years ago. The entire article, IMHO, is an excellent indictment against the “professional politician” class that has come to dominate the Republic's political scene be they dimorcrat or Republican.
Yes Oregon, WA, and Colorado caught a lot of the Cali transplant tree huggers. I suspect that is less true of those moving to Texas. Meantime more of an issue is the Universities in all 50 states, the leftist Professors are a cancer on society.
I, too, quit Los Angeles (born and raised there) and now am a proud Dallasite (Irvinger?).
And I can’t help but shake my head when I hear California is trying to once again raise taxes (on the ballot) and fees (illegally but they do it anyway).
Gasoline is 50 cents plus more a gallon there also.
I and my 6-figure income are happy in the Lone Star State.
They must constantly be reminded about why they left California and came to Texas. Maybe some before and after pictures of California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, etc.Except of course the ‘before” would be better looking than the “after” in these cases. At one time Oregon had a bumper sticker: “Don’t Californiacate”...alas, they did.
Chuck can stay, the liberal ones need to be sent packing. We need border guards on all the borders, not just the one with Mexico. lol.
Thanks for posting CW.
I lived here all my life and I still don’t know if its Irvingites or whatever
Yesterday it was reported that tax revenue was down 22%. Tax increases can do that. lol.
Their answer is to raise them again, lol.
“...joining the 2 million Californians who have packed up for greener pastures in the past ten years, with Texas the most common destination.”
Much to our regret. Too many bring their failed Liberal ideas along with them and expect us to change. They are like birds that foul their own nest, then go looking for another to foul.
Before NCLB the government sent millions to the schools with no regrad to outcome. For the first time schools have been CLOSED due to poor teaching programs and bad leaders. Is that not what conservatives are for? Charter schools exist because of NCLB - how is that bad?