A vote last month that makes Californians among the highest-taxed residents in the country is sparking debate about whether the Democrat-back initiative will backfire, by forcing high-earners to join a long exodus from the cash-strapped state.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown successfully pushed the tax increase by suggesting that high-earners must shoulder the largest burden in bailing out the state, particularly its debt-ridden public school system.
However, high unemployment and government debt have already sent residents fleeing in large numbers – an estimated 225,000 annually for the past 10 years.
And the recently passed tax increase for families making more than $250,000 each year could further shrink the tax base for California, whose 2012 budget deficit is projected to hit $28 billion.
Much of the debate has raged among California advocacy groups and in the editorial pages of the state’s biggest and most influential newspapers.
“More is never enough for these people,” Kris Vosburgh, executive director of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assoc., said about the Democrat-backed increase. “It’s hard to believe people will not leave.”
Vosburgh said his group is not an advocate for the wealthy and argued the tax increase atop other bad economic factors – including high gas and sales taxes – also have small and large businesses packing.
“With high taxes and heavy regulations, it’s just difficult to produce those widgets at a lower price than somebody in, say, Texas,” he told FoxNews.com on Tuesday.
Syndicated columnist Walter E. Williams wrote in The Orange County Register: “California politicians can fleece people in 2012, but there’s no guarantee they can do the same in 2013 and later years. People can leave.”
Ex-Californians over the past decade have already put roughly $5.67 billion into Nevada’s economy as well as $4.96 billion into Arizona and $4.07 billion in Texas, according to Manhattan Institute study titled “The Great California Exodus: A Closer Look.”