Here’s Why Everyone Is Escaping California
California dreamin’ has long been the stuff of movies, easy-breezy beach living, laid-back individualism, job opportunities and jet setting. Not to mention the fact that is has the fifth-largest economy in the world.
But in 2020, nearly 700,000 people moved out of the Golden State, looking for a silver lining in a new place they could call home. But why are so many people hitting the freeway and leaving their golden days behind? Here are seven reasons why the state of California has left so many people in a state of disappointment.
You can live large in California, but your mortgage or rent payment will be large as well.
Expect to pay around $600,000 for the median cost of a house in California. Think you might come out ahead if you rent? Better dig deep: According to Zillow, the average rent in California is $2,800, significantly higher than the national average of $1,600. In addition, long-term housing is in short supply throughout the state. Outdated zoning laws and long-term homeowners that hold sway over local city councils limit the construction of new housing projects.
Lack Of Security And Stability
The statistics show that violent crime has increased in California, which has prodded residents to seek security and stability in other states.
Some attribute the uptick to the COVID-19 lockdowns, while others believe that significant reductions in police budgets has resulted in an escalation of crime. What’s more, some California residents see prosecutors and the legal system as catalysts for the crime increase, citing sentencing that’s too lenient and state laws that make it difficult for people to take matters into their own hands in the wake of a crime such as robbery.
Homelessness And Other Social And Economic Problems
The plight of the homeless stands in stark contrast to the wealth that can be found in California, the land of plenty.
The state has more than 150,000 homeless people, more than any other state in the country. Homeless individuals can be found in even the wealthiest residential areas, and homeless encampments dot the landscape in suburban areas in many parts of the state. Some residents believe that the government is not adequately addressing the problem, while others feel government programs are actually worsening the situation.
Waste And Filth
Step away from the red-carpet events for which California is renowned and you just might find yourself stepping into human excrement.
Unbelievable as it may sound, it’s not uncommon to see excrement in the streets and on sidewalks in California’s largest cities; in fact, California is now considered to be facing a ‘defecation crisis.’ Former state residents place the blame for the increase in public defecation on the large homeless population and the resulting homeless encampments, which for the most part don’t have proper sanitary facilities.
Rising State Taxes
To live in the Golden State, you might need to find yourself a pot of gold: The state’s tax structure takes a huge bite out of income.
If you make $50,000 a year, you’ll need to pay $9,679 in state and federal taxes; make $100,000 a year and you’ll find yourself shelling out $28,923; if your annual salary exceeds $500,000 or more, you’ll pay a staggering $210,949 in taxes.
Currently, the top marginal income tax rate is 13.3%, but legislators want to raise it to nearly 17%. Additionally, the sales tax is already over 7% and the state imposes a 50-cent gas tax. Adding insult to injury: California residents can’t deduct most of their state taxes from their federal taxes, owing to President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. And California state legislators are now considering an “exit tax” for wealthy residents who leave California in the dust.
Problematic Political Policies
While many California residents are in favor of state policies, a segment of conservative and even moderate voters feel the state is leaning too far to the left.
Issues such as restrictions on law enforcement officials, increased union power, and the growing influence of large cities versus that of rural areas have made residents reconsider spending their time, and money, in California. Because of the COVID-19 lockdown and California’s stringent restrictions, the state has seen 19% of its workers file for unemployment. Other states don’t have as many pandemic-related restrictions, causing small business owners and workers to consider moving to a place where business and employment opportunities are more plentiful.
In one year, 8,500 fires destroyed nearly 2 million hectares of California land; sadly, 2020 was the worst wildfire season in the state’s history.
Former California residents express fear and frustration regarding the increased incidence of wildfires in the state. Some had been caught in a cycle of building and rebuilding after their homes were destroyed by fire – sometimes more than once. And it’s not just rural areas that feel the impact: Several of California’s largest cities were blanketed with thick smoke from fires occurring in outlying areas, forcing urbanites to shelter indoors until the fires were contained.