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

Former taxpayer association head leaves Walnut Creek for North Carolina

By Katy Grimes, July 26, 2019 8:02 am

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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.

North Carolina again ranks No. 3 in the nation among the top-performing states in Chief Executive magazine’s 2018 Best & Worst States for Business survey.

Kris Hunt, formerly the Executive Director of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association, left Walnut Creek, CA in the East Bay Area, for beautiful Beaufort, North Carolina in 2011.  “Other than being hot and sticky this time of year, and recovering from Hurricane Florence, I love it,” Hunt said jokingly.

Hunt brought up the recent hurricane because of how the recovery has been. “The people here are such good people,” she said. “Everybody cares and helps each other.”

Kris Hunt, who was a California girl through and through, grew up in Southern California and went to University of California, Los Angeles. She noted that today Los Angeles “is unlivable.”

Hunt said she was talking with several older men recently in her town and asked them, “Have you guys ever heard about any carjackings here?” They laughed and said that could never happen in North Caroline because everyone is carrying. “Some crimes just don’t happen here because if the car owner doesn’t get you, the ten other guys nearby will,” she said.  North Carolina is a traditional open carry state.

Additionally, Hunt said tort reform is not needed in North Carolina as it is in California. “There is a real lack of lawyers,” Hunt said. “You never hear about liability here.” She described living on a private street with 11 houses on it. “There are no fences around the pond at the end of the street because in North Carolina, they go out of their way to say if you are a dumbass and cause injury to yourself, it’s all on you!”

Hunt said building and remodeling homes in North Carolina is easy “because we don’t have all of the cost add-ons, development fees and permits.” She noted that because North Carolina is one of the older states in the country, the only real “regulation” is an adherence to the historic architecture in certain designated historic areas. “People know when they buy in a certain area that it is historic, and they must build or remodel accordingly,” Hunt said. She said even in her area which is not a designated historic area, neighbors have mostly adhered to the traditional architectural look. And when she remodeled, there were no permits required. “In California, it’s done to get money out of you. And the money is fungible, moved from ‘this account to that account’ to cover pensions.”

At her Beaufort DMV, Kris Hunt said “there is no wait. They are really nice people, and everyone speaks English.” She noted that at her DMV in Walnut Creek, there were employees “who barely spoke English, which made it difficult to do business.” And the license plates in North Carolina are outsourced to a private company.

Hunt said North Carolina is very proud of reducing tax rates. A recent constitutional amendment lowered the state’s income tax rate cap from 10 percent to 7 percent. The state’s current flat income tax rate is just under 5.5 percent. Georgia is the only other state that does so, with a 6 percent cap approved by voters in 2014, Governing reported.

As Chief Executive notes, the top states in the survey were Texas, followed by Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, in Chief Executive’s “Best and Worst States for Business.”

“The worst place is No. 50 California, bested only slightly by No. 49 New York, No. 48 Illinois, No. 47 New Jersey, No. 46 Connecticut and No. 45 Massachusetts.”

Wild Horses, North Carolina

Hunt lives on a deep water channel at the ocean and watches the wild ponies every morning on her walk.  Wild horses have been on the small islands of the Outer Banks for over 400 years as a result of a shipwreck.

Whenever she talks to people from California or northeast states and tells them she lives in North Carolina, “they look at your feet to see if you are wearing shoes, or if there is hay in your teeth,” she said. “But there is a lot of freedom here.”

Hunt said she and her husband (who sadly has passed away) really wanted to live by the ocean and considered Monterey, CA. “But whoa! The water is warm here,” Kris Hunt added. “Life is just so good here. It’s green here. When I fly back to California, it’s dry, and all of the buildings are so tacky.” She said California’s cities look like third world cities now.

Hunt also noted that in addition to really good gas prices, “We have parking lots here! They expect you to drive to the store and park in front,” unlike California which is trying to force people out of their cars and onto public transportation.

In North Carolina, Hunt said a home on a golf course costs $300,000. Many homes are on water and have private docks, and are “half of the price of homes in landlocked Walnut Creek.”

As the head of the taxpayers association on Contra Costa County, Kris Hunt said she used to keep her property tax bill with her at all times so she could educate people about all of the real costs and add-ons. “There were 17 line items on my tax bill in Walnut Creek,” she said. Because so many people don’t directly pay their property taxes and instead wrap them into their mortgage, “they had no idea what was on the tax bill.”

“People here like Trump,” Hunt said. “We don’t get our cars destroyed for ‘Trump’ bumper stickers.” She was recently in a parade with a friend, and they were wearing MAGA – Make America Great Again – hats. “My friend asked me if we were going to get things thrown at us. I said, ‘Yes, kisses!'” noting that at a parade the previous year, she had people throwing kisses at her for her MAGA hat.

“I can’t see California turning around at this point,” Hunt said. “There are just too many productive middle class leaving. And the middle class drive everything.” For Kris Hunt, “it’s just not attractive to go back to California. However, I still think of California in its golden times.”

Read all of the “Leaving California” series:

Leaving California, Part I – Texas

Leaving California, Part II – Arizona

Leaving California, Part III – Idaho

Katy Grimes

Katy Grimes, the Editor of the California Globe, is a long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol, and the co-author of California's War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?
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11 thoughts on “Leaving California: Interviews With Californians Who Moved To Greener Pastures, Part IV

  1. Katy,
    The articles were great. I love how that State of California Officials deny what they are doing to our great state and how they continue on with this ignorance of people not leaving the state. If you follow social media it is so clear that Poor, Middle Class, and Rich are fleeing the state and it will continue to happen. Once, the people that truly work and pay most; if not all of that taxes are gone from the state you will see a total collapse. Thanks again for posting these articles and letting people know what is really happening in the state and nation.

    1. One party state + one party news + secrecy = corruption.
      If you want to se escorted out if a presser, ask “Why are all the new undocumented persons living in subsidized housing and the homeless aren’t ?”

  2. Yeah but what about the “fifth largest economy in the world” BS that Gavin Newscum constantly croaks about???

    Other than weather that can’t be beat, California basically sucks, but so many people complain about it, yet don’t get involved to take back our state from the power hungry quid pro quo Socialist Democrats???

    They’re intentionally flooding the state with uneducated, grateful voters who have lived under corrupt dictatorships for decades, and no one CALLS them on this, under the guise of political correctness…

    I like the forum that you’re giving to Tom McClintock, Katie!
    He and John Moorlach are the two most sane legislators CA has, and they need every forum to discuss their philosophies and explain their positions.

    I cry myself to sleep frequently when I think about the brain dead Calif voters electing Schwarzenstupper as Gov when they had McClintock on the ballot…

    How different life would have been now….

    1. We also hit the road two years to South Orygun .. Perfect weather, kind people, no traffic, and the cost of living is 20% cheaper and NO cap & tax which makes heating and cooling your home unafordable in Kaly. The middle class is leaving in droves and they are the productive people in ANY state. . Gun control doesn’t exist here and everyone carries. Even the streets are clean, the roads maintained and the cops are very aware of kaly’s lawless attitude towards criminals and that lousy attitude is NOT here. The police are seen as positive force in the community. The downside is that Kalys are moving here in and land is up for sale everywhere. I’ve seen 3 cars in my upscale Hood that have Marin license plate frames. They had better not bring their terrible voting habits to South Orygun or this area will look like the mess they fled. AND It’s Trump country here too.

  3. Every person that I know who served in the military and then in law enforcement are taking both retirements to Arizona. Every one of these ex-Californian’s are independent thinkers, conservative in their values and love what the USA represents and the place it holds in the world. Each is fair minded, humane, and always wants our country to thrive.

    All of them have been shaken to the core over the past 20 years and all that has happened to the once glorious state of California. You can find details in all interviews that are common. At a higher level is this: massive disappointment in the way liberals present themselves vs what they truly are. They present themselves as caring and loving and inclusive – but are 180 degrees the opposite. They are wolves in sheep clothing.

  4. With all due respect, I watched Californians move to Western Washington in the 90s, to the detriment of our once moderate state. I have seen what the Bay Area exodus has done to Reno. California Ian’s leaving California bring their liberal values with them to destroy other areas- see WA, NC, NV, CO, etc. Expect ID and TX to go next, while the NY exodus has ruined VA and turns FL blue.
    Don’t like CA? Unless you’re a lifelong conservative, it’s your fault.

  5. I left Calee in 2009 w/transfer to W.N.Y. Buffalonians were asked, ‘Where do I go to retire?’ They said, NORTH CAROLINA! Moved in 2010 and, though I went thru ‘withdrawals’ from the Left Coast, I simply cannot regret this great move. Just one more example of knowing it was the RIGHT MOVE: Parked my Range Rover, with keys hanging out the door at a local Walmart on a busy Saturday afternoon. I was in store for about 3/4 hour. I returned to my Range Rover, still there, keys still there. I’ve noticed convertible autos as well, tops down, valuables in car, folks in-stores. The autos & valuables remained in tact. Many more factors contributing to this first-world state cp. third-world CA, NY, IL, &c. Feel free to locate, but leave communist values behind

  6. Does anyone have comments about Nashville? Tax free, low cost of living, beautiful homes, four seasons and super conservative and Christian.

  7. Born and raised in California. My sphere of influence is Fire, Police and Construction. Since I work with these occupations, I routinely ask these workers if they plan to stay in California when they retire. “Without hesitation” they all (99%) plan to move asap!. Our State Government continues to deny that people are fleeing, myself and my neighbor who I recently talked to also are planning an escape from Gavin Newsom,s insane asylum while before they tax moving. One thing that Democrats are good at besides raising taxes is enabling bad behavior. They have turned our once golden state into a cesspool of drug addicted homelessness. Car and home break-ins. Illegal camping on the outskirts of most towns and cities, their squalor camps produce trash for our protected rivers and streams, as well rats galore. They and the ACLU and the 9th Circus fight harder to protect this bad behavior and force it down the throats of hard working citizens than they do for the people who pay the taxes . They don’t seem to be aware of the ramifications of their decisions, like the degradation of the addicts health, how that affects the health system, how children of addicts suffer, how animals of addicts suffer, how the environment around and downstream of these squallor camps suffer. How the squalor and addiction affects once functional communities. Demos would have us believe that Trump is about hate? What would you call allowing and enabling addicted homeless to thrive and grow? It is hate in sooo many ways to sooo many people. The Democrats remain clueless and tax greedy. I find it amazing that any Government official can turn their back on laws they don’t like but yet expect the population to obey the dizzy laws and regulations they come up with. People are fed up and bailing! California is a Democrat supermajority nightmare. Thats the word from the trenches, what people are really saying, not the fake news the Democrats pitch to their confused Minions.

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