“California, Here I Come” is a song written for the 1921 Broadway musical Bombo, starring Al Jolson. It almost became the State song  However, the attempts proved unsuccessful, as “I Love You, California” was officially declared the state song in 1988.  Source: Wikipedia.

These days, neither song title seems to be true.  As Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, writes in the Tribune Media Services and quoted in the Las Vegas Review Journal, 9/15/13 titled, “Renaissance Revision: Golden State’s hue tarnished” and subtitled, “Crisis looms as taxes soar while services diminish.”

The exodus from California, the Golden State, continues as CA residents are flowing into Nevada, the Silver State.  While tourists from CA fly or drive to LV to put paper money and tickets into slot machines instead of silver, more and more of them hire moving vans to bring their personal treasures (funds and furniture) to the greater Las Vegas area.

Hanson asks, “Are the recent raves about a new California renaissance true?”  He then references Rolling Stone Magazine that he says, “just gushed that Gov. Jerry Brown has brought the state back from the brink of ‘double-digit unemployment, a $26 billion deficit and an accumulated ‘wall of debt’ topping $35 billion.”
Then Hanson answers his own question: “The ‘wall of debt’ is not $365 billion.  According to the State Budget Crisis Task Force report that was issued in January, California debt ranges from a minimum of $167 billion to a staggering $355 billion.”

Hanson continues, “To close the budget deficit, Brown cut expenses, but he also just raised already high income, sales and gas taxes to the nation’s top levels.  We don’t know the full effect of these costs on either businesses or the ongoing exodus of the more affluent for months to come.”

He asks:  “Yet why was California ever in a fiscal crisis at all?  World food prices are soaring.  California has the best soils, weather and farmers in the world.  Silicon Valley hosts Apple, Google, Intel and Facebook.  The state hosts some of the nation’s largest corporations, including Wells Fargo, Chevron, Hewlett-Packard and Safeway.  The movie industry in Hollywood, tourism from Disneyland to Yosemite, the Napa wine industry, and vast deposits of gas and oil should make California more prosperous than Switzerland.  Its top five universities – Caltech, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA and USC – usually rate among the to 20 worldwide.

Yet despite what God and man in the past have given the state, California has often squandered its inheritance.”

He indicates, “In the last 20 years, 3.4 million middle- and upper-middle-class Californians have fled paradise for low-or no-tax states.  In contrast, the state currently has had the largest influx of residents who immigrated illegally.  Although exact numbers are impossible to obtain, estimates suggest that about 3 million Latin American nationals are residing in California.  Many are hardworking immigrants, but most arrive illegally, don’t speak English and don’t have money or a high school education.

Ensuring foreign nationals minimum parity with U.S. citizens requires huge state inputs in education, law enforcement and health services.  The 2012 census listed California as having the highest poverty level (23.5 percent) of any state in the union.  A state with roughly 12 percent of the U.S. population is now home to 33 percent of the nation’s welfare recipients.  What, then, is the state’s strategy for recovery?  More taxes, regulations and government.
Apparently, officials in Sacramento assume that the state’s inheritance, coastal culture, and natural beauty and climate will ensure that most Californians stay put, keep innovating, and pony up far more in sales, income and gas taxes.  The exorbitant cost of living will simply be the shake-down price of being a resident of Newport Beach or Palo Alto – places believed to be safe , if not immune from the turmoil growing elsewhere in the state.

Yet for the strapped middle classes in the interior of the Los Angeles basin and the Central Valley, there is a perfect storm raging.  They can ill afford the soaring taxes, high unemployment, costly illegal immigration, escalating crime rates, substandard roads, record power and gas prices, underwater home values and dismal schools”

A personal note:  I was born in Oakland, CA; got B.S., MBA and Ph.D. degrees from U.C Berkeley, taught at UCLA, Stanford, and Cal, started the Silicon Valley World Internet Center, lived in Palo Alto, Los Angeles and then in the Sierra Foothills.  Why did I leave California in 2004 to move to Sun City Anthem in Henderson, NV?  The answer is easily found in Hanson’s writings – living costs.  While I have children in San Francisco, Palm Springs and LaJolla, I find the drive and flights there and back inexpensive and enjoy the fact that the world’s tourists (many from CA) seem to be quite willing to keep NV an income tax-free state with low living costs and world class amenities.  I also like the fact that NV State government meets only 120 days every other year and is evenly divided by party.

Please let me hear from those who stay rooted in CA, those who have immigrated to LV, and particularly those who are thinking about my title – written in Sun City Anthem – but not yet turned into a musical anthem: “Nevada, Here we Californians Come.”

(Bruce Ricks, AwareBuyers.com)