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Why Did 352 California Companies Flee to Other States in Three Years?

Low-to-no income tax states gained $391 billion from California during 2018 to 2021

By Katy Grimes, May 29, 2023 9:03 am

Why are California businesses fleeing the once-Golden State in droves? Several articles this week answer that quite clearly.

“These exits negatively impact the state and particularly the local communities that lose these headquarters. Employees also leave, reducing demand within their former communities and reducing economic vibrancy. Jobs are not the only loss. There is also the loss of corporate income tax revenues, business property taxes, rents to property owners, payments to contractors, and fees to companies in the travel industry such as hotels and rental car companies,” Joseph Vranich and Lee E. Ohanian, reported in a study published by the Hoover Institution at Stanford in 2022.

The state’s population also dropped by more than 500,000 people between April 2020 and July 2022, with the number of residents leaving surpassing those moving in by nearly 700,000, the Globe reported in February.

Economist Art Laffer and Chapman Economics Professor James Doti lay out the numbers at the OC Register, and rightly declare that Gov. “Newsom doesn’t appear to see is the deleterious long-term effects of a highly progressive tax system. Case in point: The ‘one-percenters’ who pay 50% of the tax are voting with their feet by leaving California in droves.”

They explain that the ten states with the lowest income taxes including Florida and Texas, gained a cumulative net inflow from all Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) classes of $391 billion from California during the entire 2018 to 2021 period. Note that 2018 was the final year of Democrat Governor Jerry Brown. Gov. Newsom ran for governor in 2018 and was elected. He took office January of 2019, so the 2019-2021 belongs to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“The 10 states that ranked the highest in income taxes — California, New York and New Jersey are in this group — lost a cumulative net inflow in AGI of $391 billion. The fact that the 10 states with the lowest income taxes gained in AGI the same amount as the loss in AGI for the 10 states with the highest income taxes is not a coincidence.”

The Hoover Institution’s report by Vranich and Ohanian further explains the outbound migration:

“We find that the number of companies relocating their headquarters out of California in 2021 occurred at twice the rate of 2020. Our findings show that 352 companies moved their headquarters to other states just in the period from January 1, 2018, through December 31, 2021, based on either the date of the announcement or the date of documentation with the state, whichever came first.”

“Every month in 2021, twice as many companies relocated their headquarters as in the prior year. The monthly average for 2021 also significantly exceeds the monthly averages for 2018 and 2019. California lost both very large companies, including eleven Fortune 1,000 companies between 2018-21, and small, rapidly growing companies with the potential to become transformational. From this perspective, California is not only losing current leading businesses, but potential future leading businesses as well.”

Here are the company departures by year:

  • 2021: 153
  • 2020: 75
  • 2019: 78
  • 2018: 46

Where did these companies go?

Most went to Texas. Here’s why:

“Texas offers a combination of unique competitive business advantages that no other state can claim: a business-friendly climate—with no corporate or personal income tax—along with a highly skilled and diverse workforce, easy access to global markets, robust infrastructure and a reasonable regulatory environment,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said when he recently announced that another major California business was moving to Texas. “California-based Ruiz Foods is moving its corporate HQ to Frisco,” he said. “With an unrivaled business climate and skilled, diverse workforce, Texas is America’s #1 economic destination.”

Why are companies leaving California?

Buildremote.co reported:

  • Finding a place that is “easier to hire talent
  • In search of a “great talent pool” (in the new city and state)
  • Seeking a “more sustainable place to do business
  • There is an “increasing intolerance and monoculture of Silicon Valley
  • Seeking “a strong economic climate with low taxes, reasonable regulations and a high-caliber workforce”
  • Moving for “our business needs, opportunities for cost savings, and team members”
  • There were “some symmetries in the way that the Bay Area works that just didn’t really work well for us”
  • “Arizona provided the ideal conditions of being business-friendly, offering a high quality of life at reasonable cost”
  • Employees can be homeowners in Texas, “which in the Bay Area is virtually impossible”
  • In California, local rules could dictate how the company chooses board members, for instance”

Buildremote.co compiled the list of companies with under 100 employees (45):

  • SignEasy: Texas, 2020
  • Finical: Texas, 2020
  • Arcturus Aerospace: Arkansas, 2020
  • KVP International: Texas, 2020
  • FileTrail: Texas, 2020
  • AgencyKPI: Texas, 2020
  • The Joe Rogan Experience: Texas, 2020
  • ShiftPixy: Florida, 2020
  • The Daily Wire: Tennessee, 2020
  • Titans of CNC, Inc.:Texas, 2020
  • Saleen Performance Parts: Texas, 2020
  • Amazing Magnets: Texas, 2021
  • Alpha Paw: Texas, 2021
  • Moov Technologies: Arizona, 2021
  • Huckleberry Insurance: New York, 2021
  • ProfitPay Technologies: Nevada, 2021
  • Nissei America, Inc.: Texas, 2021
  • Markaaz: Texas, 2021
  • Flannery Trim: Texas, 2021
  • SmartAction: Texas, 2021
  • Darvis: Tennesse, 2021
  • AHV Communities: Texas, 2021
  • Andamiro USA Corp.: Texas, 2021
  • AFC Finishing Systems, Inc.: Idaho, 2021
  • Precision Swiss Products: North Carolina, 2021
  • Ocean Aero Inc.: Mississippi, 2021
  • Cangshan Cutlery Company: Texas, 2021
  • OrangeGrid: Texas, 2021
  • Old Gringo Boots: Texas, 2021
  • The 360 Electrician, Inc.: Montana, 2021
  • Gordon Ramsay North America: Texas, 2021
  • The Rubin Report: Florida, 2021
  • American Technologies Network, Corp. (ATN): Florida, 2022
  • Noodoe: Texas, 2022
  • Shelter Distilling: Colorado, 2022 (source)
  • Sovereign Flavors: Texas, March 21, 2022 (source)
  • HackEDU: Pennsylvania, April 18, 2022 (source)
  • 828 Productions: New Mexico, August 19, 2022 (source)
  • Cellipont Bioservices: Texas, August 30, 2022 (source)
  • Runa Capital: Luxembourg, September 13, 2022 (source)
  • Confer Inc: Texas, September 15, 2022 (source)
  • Integrated Defense Products: September 19, 2022 (source)
  • Pasta Piccinini: December 8, 2022 (source)
  • Informative (formerly Credit Bureau Connection): January 19, 2023 (source)
  • Autoslide: January 24, 2023 (source)

Buildremote.co reported: There were 61 companies which left California between 2020 – April 2023 with more than 100 employees. They’ve moved to 19 different states. Of those states, here are the biggest beneficiaries:

  • Texas: 27 (44%)
  • Arizona: 5 (8%)
  • Colorado: 4 (7%)
  • North Carolina: 4 (7%)
  • Florida: 3 (5%)
  • Tennessee: 3 (5%)
  • Ohio: 2 (3%)
  • Multiple locations: 2
  • 11 states: 1

Economists Laffer and Doti concluded: “Given the clear evidence of people moving from states with high-income tax rates to those with lower rates, especially those with higher AGIs, Newsom might find that lowering tax rates results in higher rather than lower tax revenues. The Laffer Curve is likely to be even more relevant for states than nations. It’s a lot easier crossing state rather than national boundaries.”

Numbers don’t lie, but Gov. Newsom does.

No one is singing “California Here I Come” anymore.

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32 thoughts on “Why Did 352 California Companies Flee to Other States in Three Years?

  1. Frequently updated lists of CA companies fleeing CA really tell the story, don’t they?
    It’s not good news of course but it does keep us abreast of the CA House of Cards implosion and has the added benefit of super-effectively putting the lie to Gov Gav’s insane blather to the contrary as he continues to try to skip and dance down the Yellow Brick Prez Road.
    Thank you Katy Grimes.

  2. “No one is singing “California Here I Come” anymore.” Druggies are. Free needles, open dealing, safe injection sites, tent camp almost anywhere, theft under $950 unenforced = paradise. For druggies.

  3. Something that is not mentioned is the 2020 job killing AB5 law that mandated employers who they could and could not hire, making skilled independent pool workers illegal

    1. Ex-Senior Independent Worker ….. I’m in the same boat. Retired a year ago and was expecting to do a little part time work for my ex-employer but no can do under AB5. This site doesn’t allow expletives.

  4. Not included are companies who “stealth moved” and are now decals on a door and a service truck.

  5. Which political party has been in control for years and whose anti-business policies are causing companies to flee? That would be the Democrats!

  6. What cannot be measured is the loss of human capital. California is losing talented, productive citizens and residents. These people enrich their neighborhoods, towns and cities. Democrat ruled states like California will continue to grow populations compromised of the unproductive, uncivil, subsidized, entitled, drug addicted, mentally ill and illegal aliens. These people will support democrats to maintain subsidies and suppress law enforcement. Democrats have destroyed California. Think not…I ask you to walk any city street in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Richmond, Los Angeles, Stockton or your city after dark.

  7. Because Newsom and his Democrat minions are morons that have never successfully run a business and generally create too many economic headwinds…
    Next question???

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