Taxes No Longer the Top Reason for Businesses Leaving California

California: Good News! Your taxes, tops in the country, are no longer the top reason businesses are leaving the Bronze Golden State. It’s not that taxes have improved; rather, your laws and regulatory climate have exceeded taxes as the reason businesses are departing. That’s not just my view; it’s the view of one of the nation’s leading business relocation experts, Joseph Vranich.

Mr. Vranich has published his annual report on business relocations from California, titled “It’s Time for Companies to Leave California’s Toxic Business Climate.” Mr. Vranich took his own advice: He moved his business from Irvine, California (the same city I resided in) to Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. In an article in Western Journal Mr. Vranich notes:

I moved for three reasons — taxes, regulations and quality-of-life. First, I’ll have greater freedom in my business now that I’m free of California’s notorious regulatory environment and threats of frivolous lawsuits that hurt small businesses like mine.

Finally, we are enjoying a superior qualify-of-life here. We bought a house larger than what we had in California for about half the cost. We can afford to engage in more activities because the cost-of-living in Cranberry Township is 44 percent lower than in Irvine.

Mr. Vranich cites an example of California’s regulatory climate: California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act.

The new Immigrant Worker Protection Act states that an employer that follows Federal immigration law is now violating California law, is committing a crime, and is subject to fines. However, it’s also a crime if employer fails to follow Federal immigration law.

“Think about it. California may penalize someone in business who is a legal citizen operating a legal business that is in compliance with every Federal, state and local law, who pays state and local taxes, and who creates employment – and all that counts for nothing in the state’s eyes,” said Vranich. “Signs are that California politicians’ contempt for business will persist.”

For the record, a federal court would likely enjoin California from prosecuting anyone under this new act based on the Federal Supremacy clause. Still, a business might have to pay a lot in legal fees to deal with this. Alternatively, if you’re not in California you don’t have to worry about this.

Consider: You can stay in California, pay the country’s highest state tax rates and deal with a regulatory hellhole, or you can live in Austin, Reno, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Seattle, or Dallas and pay little or no state income taxes and not deal with California’s toxic business climate. I made the move seven years ago, and am as happy as ever I’ve done so. Sure, the weather isn’t as nice as in Irvine but I don’t deal with California’s toxic business climate and the cost of living is lower.

Or as I’ve said before, California: Helping businesses in other states.

Leave a Reply