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Thomas Gallatin / December 15, 2020

California’s Business Exodus Grows

Oracle announces that it’s moving to Texas, along with many others.

Oracle joined a growing list of big companies pulling up stakes to flee California for greener business pastures. Oracle’s Friday announcement means it’s following in the footsteps of fellow Silicon Valley tech giant Hewlett Packard, which just weeks ago announced its coming move to Austin, Texas.

But this exodus of businesses out of California is not a recent phenomenon that can be blamed on COVID and Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom’s draconian lockdowns, although they have certainly contributed. Instead, this problem has been years in the making, thanks to California’s high taxes and over-regulation. It is estimated that over the last decade some 17,000 businesses have left the state. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is also moving to Austin, where he plans to set up a new auto plant by next year. The Daily Wire pulled up stakes from LA and moved to Nashville. Popular podcaster Joe Rogan left California for — where else? — Austin. Even Tinseltown is bleeding businesses, with tax-friendly Georgia fast becoming the Hollywood of the South.

Jim Wunderman, CEO of the Bay Area Council, rang the alarm bells about Oracle when he stated, “Anyone who doesn’t believe that this latest departure isn’t a threat to California’s economy is a business-climate denier. We are watching the unraveling of one of the world’s mightiest economies and the consequences will be devastating.”

What might have been a trickle a few years ago of businesses leaving has fast become a steady stream, with the tax-happy Golden State making it harder and harder for businesses to justify staying. As prominent California entrepreneur Tom Siebel has advised, “I think every responsible chief executive officer has to consider moving their company out of California. If you’re not considering that, you’re not fulfilling your job for your shareholders and your employees.”

National Review’s John Fund observes, “If California continues its economic decline, something Texas-sized in its ambitions may be called for — whether it’s a moratorium on new business regulations or a restructuring of the state’s corrupt unemployment compensation or reining in suffocating litigation. Nothing less is likely to stem the outflow of businesses and jobs from the Golden State.”

The problem for Texas and Georgia — to name just two of the aforementioned refuges for California businesses — is that the states should welcome the new arrivals but beware the leftist policies the companies and their employees bring with them. “Hollywood of the South,” for example, sounds great … until the Peach State turns blue. Silicon Valley in Austin may be a boon … until deep-blue Austin flips the Lone Star State.

But for now, California serves as a warning to the rest of the country. This is the result of leftist Democrats’ anti-business policies, which prize symbolism and virtue signaling over substance, truth, and individual liberty.

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