NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 13, 2009

After more than 150 years of being a destination, California is becoming a place entrepreneurs, investment capital and the hardy workers who made it a global leader in agriculture, technological innovation and scientific research are fleeing.  This exodus is the marker of something deeper than a national recession; it's a sign that the attempts by state leaders to spend their way back to prosperity are killing California, says Congressman Devin Nunes (R).

While it has the sixth highest tax burden in the nation, California is facing a breathtaking $40 billion budget deficit this year.  This comes on the heels of a decade-long spending spree; last year, the state budget was $131 bullion, up from $56 billion in 1998. 

Moreover, citizens are burdened by all manner of state regulations and are fleeing to more business-friendly states:

  • In 2000, about 150,000 people moved into California; but in the years that followed the in-migration slowed, and in 2005 it reversed, when 52,000 people moved out.
  • In 2008, the outflow topped 135,000 people.
  • Consequently, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming all have unemployment rates around 5 percent at a time when California is suffering an unemployment rate of 9 percent.

It's time to turn to the ballot initiative and enact needed reforms that elected representatives in Sacramento have been unwilling to tackle on their own, says Nunes.  Californians need to be able to elect leaders whose primary interest is public service, not furthering political careers; therefore, a part-time, nonpartisan citizen legislature -- a model that has proven effective in states like Texas and Nebraska -- should be enacted.

Furthermore, Nunes will soon be launching campaign to enact a Taxpayers' Bill of Rights that will enforce two-year budgeting, end budget stalemates, create new spending controls and refund budget surpluses.

Source: Devin Nunes, "California's Gold Rush Has Been Reversed," Wall Street Journal, January 10-11, 2009.

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