For a state that had so much going for it, California is sinking into the depths of its own self-made depression. Businesses are fleeing in droves (including 70 more since January), the state has a projected $42 billion budget gap and is already awash in unfunded liabilities (the teachers' pension fund alone is $56 billion underfunded), and human kind has taken backseat to the survival of a tiny fish which has turned the San Joaquin Valley into a dust bowl.
Now, to make matters worse (as if they could be), California has given more incentive for businesses to continue fleeing to Texas and other friendlier locales—a huge increase in energy costs coming down the road.
Why are companies leaving the Golden State? As you might expect, California’s out-of-control spending, high taxes, and burdensome regulations figure among the top 10 reasons. Vranich, however, recently added high energy costs to the list:
The #10 Reason (New!) – Unprecedented Energy Costs: The California Manufacturers and Technology Association states that commercial electrical rates here already are 50% higher than in the rest of the country. However, a law enacted in April 12, 2011 requires utilities to get one-third of their power from renewable sources (e.g., solar panels, windmills) within nine years. Look for costs to increase by another 19% in many places to a whopping 74% in Los Angeles. Such new burdens along with upcoming regulations stemming from the “California Global Warming Solutions Act” set potentially overwhelming obstacles to companies here as they try to meet competition based in other states and in foreign nations.
And, for all of the above reasons, there's another nine more out there.
However, if none of the above was enough to convince you that California is on its way to self immolation, perhaps AFSCME boss Willie L. Pelote, Sr. will convince you.
According to Pelote, those previously dumb Californians have suddenly wizened up and now want higher taxes, you see. At least that's what Pelote emphatically asserts:
What Californians want, in fact, are robust social programs like health care, welfare, child care, mental health, strong public education and transportation systems, environmental protection, clean water and open spaces in our state parks.
This has been confirmed in poll after poll.
A Field Poll in March showed that 58 percent of voters approved of Gov. Brown's proposal to extend taxes on sales, income and cars. Then a companion poll in April showed that 61 percent of Californians support the right of teachers and civil servants to bargain collectively. At the same time, another April poll found that 78 percent of California voters support raising the personal income taxes of individuals making $500,000 or more.
Where California voters have erred in the past is to assume that the programs and services administered by the state could continue to operate effectively without revenues to sustain them.
It seems that Californians are finally coming to realize that taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.
The good news is that California voters seem to be waking up now and have passed out of denial when it comes to how we as a state can restore quality public education and public services.
Common sense dictates that California voters now be asked to re-examine their attitudes concerning how we go about creating a fair tax system to fund our state's future.
Only then will we have a government that truly serves all Californians.
Hopefully, though doubtful, some common sense will eventually prevail in California before it is entirely too late. However, with union sycophants like Pelote and their puppets in Sacramento purposely advocating a hostility toward business, there is really no reason for anyone to believe that California can save itself from committing suicide.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.com.