“Toyota Escapes to Texas” was the headline on a Wall Street Journal article last week, with the subhead: “Another engine of middle-class jobs flees California.”
Escapes? Flees? Potent verbs, with dark connotations for the place of departure, bright ones for the destination – casting the former like a penal colony, the latter as a place to be.
The announcement of Toyota’s planned relocation of its sales headquarters and 3,000 jobs to Plano is the jumping off point for the article’s recitation of the many ways in which the business climate is friendlier in Texas (and other southern states) than it is in California.
Noting that “Texas has become more economically competitive while California has become less so,” the article cites right-to-work laws “that have limited unionization and thus labor costs,” cheaper real estate “due to less restrictive zoning and environmental regulations,” and lower taxes as contributing factors.
Thanks to California’s “taxes and blending requirements” and “renewable-energy mandate,” gasoline and electricity prices are also considerably lower in Texas and much of the South.
According to the Journal, “The hostility to fossil fuels has cut California’s oil production in half from its 1985 peak while output in Texas has doubled in three years and lifted incomes.” Personal incomes are growing faster in Texas, and our unemployment rate is lower.
In the last three years “more than two dozen California companies” have fled their inhospitable home and escaped to our friendly one. Dozens more have expanded here (perhaps in anticipation of future relocation).
California’s loss is our gain, but we take no delight in their wholly avoidable decline. We share the sentiment Gov. Rick Perry expressed during a corporate recruitment trip out west, that it’s in the best interest of all Americans for California to succeed.
“It’s too important to the country,” he commented.
When Californians come to their senses and decide they want all their citizens to enjoy the benefits of prosperity again, they’ll have a model to follow in Texas.