It's about housing, not taxes


Texas Guv Rick Perry made a spectacle of himself trying to take businesses away from California, but as everyone with any sense predicted, his trip was a bust. Fact is, very few businessess anywhere make major relocation decisions because of taxes and regulations. But as Calitics points out (with a nice chart), the real reason people have left California of late is the cost of housing.

The so-called "job creators" have enough money to afford to live here, so they aren't going anywhere. What's happening is that the rest of the workforce, particularly the middle-class workforce, is finding the gap between the amount they can earn and the amount they have to pay for a home is getting so radical that they're leaving altogether.

That's happening in San Francisco, as evictions are driving people out of the city. Some may move to other parts of the Bay Area, creating what most environmentalists and economists agree is an unsustainable situation: Workers living so far from their jobs that vast amounts of energy have to be expended getting them back and forth. But the data shows that people are leaving California altogether. Calitics:

If we are to really continue our growth, we must address the housing crunch that is going on, especially along the coast. That isn't accomplished through slashing services and budgets, but rather working to create new affordable housing solutions and ways for young families to stay here in California, where most would rather stay.

And let's remember: One of the biggest factors that does drive business location decisions is the availability of skilled labor. If people are leaving the state because they can't afford to live here, who's going to work in the industries that are the biggest employers in San Francisco (hint: It's not tech)? Tourism is this city's greatest economic engine, and jobs in the hospitality industry don't pay enough for housing in the city that depends on it.

That's a dilemma we all ought to be talking about -- and Rick Perry trying to get businesses to go to Texas is not.