It’s that time again when Chief Executive Magazine publishes its annual report on the best states in which to do business.
In my past articles on this subject, I’ve reported on California being an almost unbearable place in which to do business. Yes, California was once the envy of the world. Yes, California was the state that saw skyrocketing numbers of people arriving after World War II to take advantage of the opportunities it state provided to hard-working Americans.
Now Chief Executive Magazine reports that California is dead last in U.S. business rating.
The magazine cites the state’s tax structure and regulatory environment for its miserable showing, stating that its business problems are “chronic.”
The report says that California regulates “with a very heavy hand,” and that its top marginal tax rate of 33% is the third-highest in the industrialized world, behind only Denmark and France.
The rankings were based on a survey of 500 chief executives around the world and included a number of factors, including taxes, regulations, workforce quality, and living environment.
Topping the rankings – and no surprise here – was Texas, where Governor Rick Perry has been actively luring companies with huge incentives to relocate to his business-friendly state.
Most recently Toyota announced its intention to relocate its North American headquarters to the Lone-Star State from California, taking with it more than 4,000 private sector jobs.
As I’ve previously written, in 2011 there were 254 corporations that took their 855,000 private sector jobs to other states, and another 210 in 2010.
Now it’s been reported that California saw 5.2 percent fewer businesses than at the end of 2011, which is a difference of about 73,000.
Citing a Dun & Bradstreet report, Chief Executive Magazine said that 2,565 California businesses with three or more employees had relocated to other states between 2007 and 2011, taking with them 109,000 jobs.
“California goes out of its way to be anti-business and particularly where one might put manufacturing and/or distribution operations,” the magazine said.
California’s Franchise Tax Board figures show that the wealthiest 1% of taxpayers paid 50.6% of the state income tax in 2012, up from 41.1% in 2011, a serious year-over-year increase.
Is it any wonder why the wealthy, those who create jobs, are being driven right out of the state?
California has a long history of very volatile tax policies, with extreme upswings and downswings. And when the revenue doesn’t meet the states’ liabilities, the Democrats, who have controlled the state legislature for most of the past 50 years, simply raise taxes, income and sales alike.
In past decades California managed to get by due to its natural assets, such as its climate, access to the Pacific Rim, scenic beauty, aerospace, and the computer era.
No longer are these assets preventing businesses, smart businesses, from bidding farewell to what was once the Golden State. And until voters, especially younger technology-obsessed voters, put down their cell phones and iPads and pay attention to the direction their legislators are leading them, nothing will change and the state with continue to lose both businesses and people…to much more business-friendly states like Texas.
Spero columnist John Mancino is a security specialist and political activist who resides in California.
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