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November 02, 2009

California vs. Texas

It's an ass-whuppin.

Compare and contrast. Texas: lower taxes, holding up reasonably well in a bad economy, growing. California: our toll booth operators are better paid than yours.

Texas has usurped the leadership position that, decades ago, belonged to California. Today California is in decline, likely irreversibly so. William Voegeli draws the sad but instructive comparison in the Los Angeles Times:
In America's federal system, some states, such as California, offer residents a "package deal" that bundles numerous and ambitious public benefits with the high taxes needed to pay for them. Other states, such as Texas, offer packages combining modest benefits and low taxes. These alternatives, of course, define the basic argument between liberals and conservatives over what it means to get the size and scope of government right. ...

California and Texas are not perfect representatives of the alternative deals, but they come close. Overall, the Census Bureau's latest data show that state and local government expenditures for all purposes in 2005-06 were 46.8% higher in California than in Texas: $10,070 per person compared with $6,858. ...

But what about improved public "services"? Better roads, schools...

Nope.

So what do Californians get for their higher taxes?

Better paid public employees, and more of em.

But those higher taxes in California must be going somewhere. Why aren't they benefiting those many thousands of citizens who are leaving the state for greener pastures?
In what respects, then, does California "excel"? California's state and local government employees were the best compensated in America, according to the Census Bureau data for 2006. And the latest posting on the website of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility shows 9,223 former civil servants and educators receiving pensions worth more than $100,000 a year from California's public retirement funds. The "dues" paid by taxpayers in order to belong to Club California purchase benefits that, increasingly, are enjoyed by the staff instead of the members.

You know they're feelin good about that.

It's not a perfect contrast but it's a good one. For years states with higher taxes dismissed other states like Texas, Florida and South Carolina as ignoring the neccessity of of "excellent" public services like education and transportation. All bullshit of course, public services and infrastructure are no better or in many cases worse. Meanwhile policitians assaulted businesses as the "enemy" bled them with ever higher taxes and over-regulation, and the bureaucrats and the unions lined their pockets until the whole thing collapsed.

They say California sets the trend. I wish they were wrong. Whoever "they" are.


[via The Man of Substance]


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posted by Dave In Texas at 09:38 AM

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