Nearly everyone's common blogological ancestor, Glenn Reynolds, serves up this WaPo article regarding Nissan's relocation of its headquarters and over 1,300 jobs from Gardena, California, to a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee. There is talk about this being another "blow" to Governor Ahnold, but that just doesn't wash. As one of Glenn's readers pointed out, it's not like the Republicans haven't been trying for decades to make California more business friendly. The simple truth is, it's just awfully expensive to do business here in California, particularly in the larger metropolitan areas where housing generally exceeds $360,000 (for a shack with plumbing), and a tax structure that should have bankrupted nearly everyone.
Even Hollywood, for whom I hold no love, feels this pinch. They keep imploring the state to cut them some slack so they can keep more production in the local area, but to no avail. This is surprising insofar as Hollywood is a hotbed of liberalism, and they just can't seem to get any relief from their liberal buddies in the legislature. I mean, they donate millions to Democratic coffers as a community, and this is the thanks they get. Hmph. Maybe if Warren runs... nah! He'd only confuse things.
Anyway, Nissan's move is just the latest salvo in this ongoing battle. Other companies have pulled similar maneuvers without raising so much as an embarrassing question or two from the MSM operatives. Faced with burgeoning costs on the Space Station project, Boeing moved 1,100 engineers and other technical professionals to Houston and other locations. Their reasons generally revolved around making the engineers more "accessible" to their government customers, but you just know a healthy part of that decision had to involve Boeing's negotiated administrative rates with NASA. Those rates take into account the taxes and fees the company must pay to do business in California, and it's just getting too expensive to justify any longer. When you tell this to state pols, they will pull the standard "I Feel Your Pain" frowny face, but they don't really understand the problem. They get their pension whether your company stays in California or not.
Woody, of course, has his opinions on this topic. Personally, I'd like to see about two or three thousand more companies of varying sizes leave California for good. Let's lose, say, about 20 to 50 thousand more jobs. Most of them would have to come from Los Angeles and the Silicon Valley, of course, but they need to go. What we need here is a solid glut of cheap housing. Primarily, we need about a 30% foreclosure rate in every state politician's neighborhood, so they get the idea that their current policies are choking the local economy.
I recognize that this is likely never to occur, but I can dream. In the meantime, California will continue to be more about speculation than about real productivity, and companies like Nissan will continue to recognize that there are greener (and more economically friendly) pastures elsewhere in the country.
I'll be shopping for a house.
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