By way of background for you Easterners, in the 1990s, California ran into a brick wall. Decades of idiocy caught up with the state and their attempt to double down on stupid, surprisingly, only made things worse. Soon they were fleeing the mess they made to Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona and probably others. Each time they arrived in these pristine lands and immediately set about trying to recreate the mess they had left. Thus, places like Colorado went from “rugged-individualist” and “live and let live” (yet sane) libertarianism to “dude, you don’t have a law to protect ____” dipsh*tism. That’s how Colorado ended up with high taxes, state workers having the right to unionize (something they don’t even have in union states like West Virginia), and a transgender bathroom law which lets perverts hang out in women’s bathrooms so long as they claim they feel more natural there. . . or they’re selling pot.
Well, another two decades of idiocy have made California worse, and so here they come again. . . the next wave. This time Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Washington and Oregon are the targets. Why are they leaving California you ask? Because it’s a basketcase.
California spends most its budget on salaries, retirement and health care for state employees. In every category, it pays its employees way more than any other state. In some cases, it pays more than twice as much for the same positions. The reason for this is that California’s unions, particularly the police and prison guard unions, negotiated automatic pay increases in their contracts in the 1990s, which have kept their incomes growing no matter what. So now, the average worker in California makes $60,317, with the highest paid worker actually earning $822,000. The next highest state is New York, where the average worker earns $55,650. That’s a huge difference. But it’s actually worse than that: California’s average is more than $10,000 higher than the averages in 47 of the other 49 states, and nobody comes close to the top end salaries in California.
Then there’s overtime. Last year, California paid an average of $8,741 per employee in overtime, coming to just about a billion dollars. By comparison, liberal New York paid $5,199 for a total of $415 million. Conservative Georgia paid only $1,378 for a grand total of $12 million. Why does California need all the overtime? Union rules.
California also has a huge unpaid vacation problem. Most states cap the amount of unpaid vacation you can accrue at 30 days or some low dollar amount. New Jersey allows employees to accrue up to $15,000. California has no cap. One employee retired last year and got a check for $608,821 in unpaid leave. This has resulted in a $3.9 billion liability waiting to be paid. Again, union rules.
Then come pensions, a real killer. California’s Highway Patrol convinced the legislature to pass a law which grants the employee 90% of their top salary as a pension after thirty years of service. This has since become the standard pension plan throughout the state and in many cities. This has resulted in an increase in California’s pension obligations from $300 million in the 1990s to $3.7 billion today. It also led directly to the bankruptcy of several cities.
The result of this is a budget that is beyond broken. Services are being cut. School funding has fallen and California now ranks 35th nationally on that – they used to be number one at one point. Taxes are being raised all over the place. The highest income tax bracket in California is now 13.3%. The state sales tax is 7.25% before local taxes are added which can bring it up to 9.25%. The state gas tax is the second highest in the country at 48.6 cents per gallon. And none of this even touches upon crashing home values, soaring property taxes and fees, environmental regulations that have choked off farming and made electricity sporadic, etc.
This is the fault of voters. The voters voted for tax cuts and spending hikes throughout the 1990s and 2000s, which set the current problems into motion. They approved every goodie anyone asked for. Now they are voting for spending hikes and tax hikes on the rich to solve the problem, which is making the problem even worse. The voters also keep sending Democrats to the Sacramento to manage this problem and those Democrats bend over backwards to help the unions get more goodies. And their plan to get bailed out by Washington are a pipe dream.
Essentially, California voters opted for an economic suicide pact and now they are paying for that. . . only, they aren’t paying for it. . . the rest of us are because they are fleeing the mess they made. They are headed to other states where things haven’t been messed up yet, and the first thing these asshats will do is start to wonder why their new states don’t have all the great laws California had which set the crisis into motion.
It has been said that those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. They should have said, “Those who are intentionally ignorant of history are destined to repeat it repeatedly. . . dude.”