Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

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"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

23 October 2010

Texas Rewards Success, California Taxes It

California and Texas are 1 and 2 in Gross State Product (GSP), the state equivalent of the GNP. The 2008 GSP of California was $1.847 trillion and that for Texas was $1.224 trillion, with New York not too far behind Texas. From 2005 to 2008, the states with the fastest growth in GSP and their ranking on the personal and economic freedom index of Ruger and Sorens published by the Mercatus Center of George Mason University (dated February 2009) are:

Wyoming, 33.56%, 20
North Dakota, 28.52%, 4
Texas, 24.59%, 7
Utah, 23.17%, 14
Alaska, 21.72%, 47
Louisiana, 21.42%, 28
Oklahoma, 21.14%, 17
Montana, 20.48, 21
South Dakota, 20.34, 1

The corresponding results for California are:

California, 13.40%, 48

An article in the Investor's Business Daily called A Trenchant Tale of Two States points out further contrasts between these two states.  California had lost 1.46 million jobs due to this socialist recession we are in as of August when comparing to the jobs of December 2007.  But, Texas had replaced the jobs that were lost there earlier in the recession.  As of August, California alone accounted for 22.74% of the jobs lost in the nation since December 2007!

The magazine Chief Executive polls CEOs about the business environment in the states and California was ranked 50th of the states each of the last five years.  Texas was ranked #1.  The CEOs blame California's high taxes, its over-regulation, and bias against the profit motive.  On the other hand, Texas is appreciated for not having a personal income tax, not taxing capital gains, and having a more reasonable regulatory burden.  California's capital gains tax is as high as 10.55%.  Its regulations raise labor costs, promote litigation, and put building projects into suspended animation.  The state and local governments make a habit of preying on businesses and property owners with fees and mandates.

As the IBD article graphics above show, Texas over a ten-year period, had a lower personal tax burden, its gross state product growth was higher, personal income growth was higher, its population growth was much higher, and its non-farm payroll employment growth was much higher when compared to California.  Texas also bettered the national averages in all of these categories.  In addition, there was a strong net domestic migration out of California and a strong migration into Texas.  People vote with their feet.

The issue of a state personal income tax is worth looking at more closely.  Texas and the eight other states with no state personal income tax grew their nonfarm payroll by 11.76% from 1999 to 2009.  California and the other eight states with the highest upper personal income tax brackets, grew the nonfarm payroll by only 2.48%.

Some states, such as California, are very highly biased against the profit motive, business, and property owners.  It makes doing business in those states very unpleasant.  Some companies move out of the state, while others simply choose to do their future expansion in other areas.  Sometimes the other area is Texas and sometimes it is in another country.

The IBD article concludes with an interesting anecdote:  California governments love alternative energy.  The City Manager of Brisbane, CA pretends to be enthusiastic about solar power, but this does not stop him from charging $13,510 for a permit to install a 131 kilowatt system.  He claimed it made no sense to allow a commercial firm a break on that fee, since they only wanted a profit.  The bias against profit might as well be a bias against jobs and income growth.  This bias is a characteristic of the more socialist states such as California and they pay a steep price for that bias.

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