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Leaving California: Interviews With Californians Who Moved To Greener Pastures, Part II

‘I felt like I was chased out of my own home state’

By Katy Grimes, July 18, 2019 7:26 am

Everyone is piling on California these days, and for many valid reasons. California is always ranked as one of the worst states in the country in which to run a business, while many other states are ranked at the top of the chart. California is always ranked as one of the worst states in the country in which to run a business, while Texas always ranks as one of the best. Chief Executive rankings show Texas in first place and California in an embarrassing last place at 50th, and Arizona is ranked number 7, with a booming business environment.

“We remain focused on ensuring Arizona is the best state in the nation to develop new ideas and launch or scale a business,” says Gov. Doug Doucey. Arizona has six multi-billion businesses moving to or building manufacturing plants, including Amazon, Cognizant, and SeaCa Packaging, and is home to six Fortune 500 companies.

California Globe recently interviewed several former California residents about their decisions to move to other states, including why, the economics and freedoms and liberties they realized once relocated. The first article featured former California State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore. This second article features a business owner and his wife who left the San Diego region for Prescott, Arizona.

Steve and his wife were both born in California. “I was born in Hollywood – it doesn’t get more California than that,” Steve said. He attended University of California, San Diego and his wife California State University San Diego. They decided not to go back to Los Angeles after college, and stayed in the San Diego region for more than 30 years. (We aren’t using their surname because they are business owners.)

“I felt like I was chased out of my own home state,” said Steve, who has owned a software business for many years. He and his wife were 30+ year residents of a San Diego County town, but finally decided to make the move out of frustration over California’s regulatory environment, as well as ridiculously high income, property and sales taxes.

“But now, even in San Diego, I have a friend who has been trying to build a barn on his property for 14 months and can’t get it approved.”

“When we moved to Arizona, we realized an immediate 10 percent gross income increase – an immediate pay raise,” said Steve. “Same with the sales tax and property taxes, although they are a little less than California.”

Arizona does have an income tax and collects it from residents in five brackets. The lowest rate is 2.59 percent; the top rate is 4.54 percent.

“But regulations… Arizona is much more friendly!” Steve said. “When I closed our California office, I spent 30 minutes just taking down the government regulatory and labor law posters.” California is now up to 29 mandatory government regulatory and labor law posters, which includes Notice of Inspection by Immigration Agencies, Minimum wage,  Paid sick leave, Whistleblower protections, and Transgender Rights in the Workplace, to name just a few, all required by the Department of Industrial Relations.

“It’s the operations costs, the utility costs, and the building costs,” he said, drawing the significant difference between California and Arizona.

Steve and his wife bought a large piece of property and said they were building a larger home on it than they had in California. “We got our permits in three months for only $10,400. And we are building a big home on seven acres,” he said. Steve and his wife also had to drill for a well, which he said cost them $16,000, noting in California, well drilling has almost ground to a halt by the state over water issues.

Steve and his wife bought their property for $14,000 an acre, only 20 minutes from town, which is about half of the property costs where they lived in San Diego County.

Notably, Arizona incentivizes businesses by offering:

Qualified Facility Tax Credit: Offers a refundable tax credit of the lesser of: 10% of qualified capital investment, $20,000 per net new job or $30 million per taxpayer per year, for location of manufacturing or R&D headquarter facilities.

Quality Jobs Tax Credit: Offers a state income tax of up to $9,000 over a three-year period for each net new quality job.

R&D Tax Credit: Offers a nonrefundable income tax credit for basic research payments made to universities under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Board of Regents.

Arizona Job Training Program:Offers job specific reimbursement of up to 75% of eligible training expense for net new jobs.

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9 thoughts on “Leaving California: Interviews With Californians Who Moved To Greener Pastures, Part II

  1. Left California for the Big Island last August. Found a 3 acre parcel about 20 minutes from Hilo for under $10k/acre. No need to drill a well, as everyone is on catchment here. Brought our solar power array, so no electricity bills. Constant climate, 75°daytime with 65° at night, so no A/C or heating. Heck, they don’t even bother with insulation here. No fishing licenses required, so everyone fishes. Plentiful game, with piggies fatter than any porker taken in California.

    Not missing California a bit…

  2. Can you put me in contact with Steve? I am a highly qualified Admin Assistant and I want OUT of California after 47 years. Looking for a job out of state prior to moving.

  3. Californians are quite welcome in Arizona as long as they leave their liberal policies behind and stop trying to turn Arizona into what they left behind….

  4. My husband and his 2 business partners are in the process of relocating to Nevada. California has for sure become too regulatory for any business that does manufacturing. Their saving from workman’s comp rates, insurance, taxes, lower minimum wage, and flight costs has been staggering. I’m dumbfounded when I come across arrivals the are written from the perspective that running a successful business that provides jobs is bad. California is making it nearly impossible to be successful at providing jobs. So thankful for your insight.

  5. Lived in California for 59 years. So glad to get out and now live in Florida, enjoying retirement and living like a king on our California retirements. I totally agree with Alex……..everyone is welcome from California, just leave your Leftie behaviors behind.

  6. I specialize in helping people move from out of state and need help there and and in the next place. I am glad to help people escape the West Coast and can give you some real live experience on what it takes and the considerations. You have to have a game plan. I am licensed in Arizona and can help nationwide and in Canada as I work for the largest brokerage in North America. Brent Woods, Coldwell Banker Realty 520 780-9792 If brent.woods@azmoves.com Come check out Tucson!

  7. Left California (Los Angeles) after living there for 50 years. The state has deteriorated significantly over the past years despite taxes being increased to be the highest in the nation. Crime, congestion, traffic, damaged roads, illegal immigration, increased insurance costs and uncontrolled government spending with no accountability. Moved to Colorado on 3+ acres – nice people, slower pace. Property taxes went from $7000 (CA) to $690 (CO) annually with more housing and property.

  8. 7 more years and counting. I can’t stand governor Grusome and the problem is he and comrades aren’t leaving anytime soon. I’m a native Californian, a high earner but 33% of my income goes to the state republik and a Uncle Sam. Looking forward to moving to Scottsdale! I honestly feel like we are moving due to political and religious grievances. I hope to find like-minded, conservative, open folks. I am Asian, and I heard lots of diversity is waiting for me in AZ. I hate this crowded, progressive, trafficy, homeless and criminal-friendly republik of CA. I will miss the weather and family n friends, but will get used to the dessert and use zoom/video calls.

    1. I hope you enjoy the 120+ F temps in AZ next summer. Bought an RV from folks who also moved to AZ but after one summer sold their property and moved back to the coast (OC).
      I understand the rationale of people moving out of state but the weather is a very important part of life. I have friends who relocated to Seattle and they are depressed from the grey skies and the rain. Hardly any sunshine.
      Yes, CA is far from perfect but the grass is not always greener on the other side.
      Please do not underestimate the climate when making your (financial/political) decision to move out of CA.

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