About 80 years ago, folk singer Woody Guthrie had this to say about living in California:
“California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see; / But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot / If you ain’t got the do-re-mi,” Guthrie wrote in a warning to Dust Bowl migrants that the cost of living in California was more than they could afford.
Fast-forward to the waning days of 2019, and Laguna Hills, California, Mayor Don Sedgwick is saying much the same thing as he sees Californians turning their back on the Golden State because they simply cannot afford to live there.
“It’s just too darn expensive,” Sedgwick said on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday.
On Monday, the Census Bureau reported that California, a population magnet for generations, now tops the nation in domestic migration loss, as 203,414 people moved from California to other states between 2018 and 2019.
California remains the nation’s largest state at 39.5 million people, but it only gained a net of 50,635 people from 2018 to 2019, according to the Census figures. Eighth-ranked Georgia and ninth-ranked North Carolina each gained more than 100,000 people in that time span.
The fact that California is losing people to other states could impact its political future.
“It’s got a lot to do with dispersion from California to the rest of the west,” William Frey, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told the Los Angeles Times. “Arizona, Texas and Colorado are all big destinations for California migrants, and they all are gaining seats.”
Frey said it is possible that California could lose one seat in the House of Representatives if the losses continue.
“Democrat liberal policies have contributed to that,” he said.
Sedgwick said that he “can’t blame” residents for moving out, adding that “it’s just become untenable to live here.”
Data published by Reader’s Digest shows that the average price for a California home is $713,887, more than double the Texas average of $283,005.
“The excess regulations and taxes have made the same home in California 40 percent more expensive to build here than it does in other states,” Sedgwick said. “So, you can’t blame people for moving out.”
The mayor said state political leaders believe their main mission is “stick it to these corporations.”
“But when they stick it to the corporations, they don’t realize that they’re sticking it to the consumer,” he went on.
“The homebuilders are making just as much money today as they ever had and every one of those excess regulations and permits – permitting fees – are borne by the consumer.”
Further complicating life in California are high taxes, gasoline prices and utility rates, he said.
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