Libertarian Businessman Says Goodbye to California with the New Year

Now, give us all your money.Credit: David HerreraLibertarian businessman and park privatization advocate Warren Meyer is celebrating the new year by getting the heck out of California, like so many other businesses. He posted the many reasons why it’s so hard to do business in the Golden State, particularly in Ventura County, on his blog. Here’s a sampling of some of the reasons:

  • It took years in Ventura County to make even the simplest modifications to the campground we ran.  For example, it took 7 separate permits from the County (each requiring a substantial payment) just to remove a wooden deck that the County inspector had condemned.  In order to allow us to temporarily park a small concession trailer in the parking lot, we had to (among other steps) take a soil sample of the dirt under the asphalt of the parking lot.   It took 3 years to permit a simple 500 gallon fuel tank with CARB and the County equivalent.   The entire campground desperately needed a major renovation but the smallest change would have triggered millions of dollars of new facility requirements from the County that we simply could not afford.
  • In most states we pay a percent or two of wages for unemployment insurance.  In California we pay almost 7%.  Our summer seasonal employees often take the winter off, working only in the summer, but claim unemployment insurance anyway.  They are supposed to be looking for work, but they seldom are and California refuses to police the matter.  Several couples spend the whole winter in Mexico, collecting unemployment all the while.  So I have to pay a fortune to support these folks' winter vacations.
  • California is raising minimum wages over the next 2 years by $2.  Many of our prices are frozen by our landlord based on past agreements they have entered into, so we had no way to offset these extra costs.  At some point, Obamacare will stop waiving its employer mandate and we will owe $2000-$3000 extra additional for each employee.  There was simply no way to support these costs without expanding to increase our size, which is impossible (see above) due to County regulations.

Meyer noted at the end that while California’s high-tax climate is often eyed as being a business-killer, it wasn’t as large an issue for him. California’s horrible regulatory structure and fee system doesn’t get nearly enough attention as everybody argues about the taxation limits put in place by Proposition 13. Whenever any progressive whines that Proposition 13 is tying the state’s hands in collecting revenue, he or she needs to be reminded that the state and the various municipalities within the state milk every single cent they can get out of businesses. Unfortunately, state politicians only seem to care when regulations threaten their favorite train or stadium projects.

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  • Andrew S.||

    All you Californians who like the weather but can't stand the government, just move here to Florida. Sure, we have Floridians here, but no state income tax, hurricanes are easier than major earthquakes, and the women on Miami Beach are better looking than the ones in LA.

  • Floridian||

    Sure, we have Floridians here,

    Hey!

  • Andrew S.||

    Present company (I think there are 3 of us here) excluded, of course.

    Florida: The only state where the further north you go, the further south you go.

  • Floridian||

    Present company (I think there are 3 of us here) excluded, of course.

    Of course
    *slight tip of ridiculously tall top hat*

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Hey, did I mention I got a Top Hat for x-mas?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I don't know if it was just a bad weekend or something, but the women on Miami Beach last month were not impressive at all.

  • Floridian||

    It was only 80 degrees. Too cold for the really hot native women to come out. What you saw were snowbirds on vacation.

  • Spartacus||

    Ayup. Water's cold too, this time of year: anyone you see in the surf (not actually surfing) is a tourist.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Water's cold too, this time of year: anyone you see in the surf (not actually surfing) is a tourist.

    This is absolutely true.

    No native Floridian goes to the beach during the winter, and those that do will not be in the water.

  • Andrew S.||

    I do, but only when people visit.

  • Pro Libertate||

    We're not responsible for the unattractive women you send down here for vacations.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    That's not what my lawyer said.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Your lawyer is a buffoon. And likely looks unpleasant in a thong, too.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I don't know about right now, but there have historically been quite a few Floridians hereabouts.

  • Brett L||

    It seems like half the people I know in Tallahassee are in California right now. Including my father-in-law. I'd be there right now except for the poop factory new baby. I'll be sure to hold it over his head for the rest of his life whenever he disappoints me.

  • playa manhattan||

    Vacationing, or are there supposedly jobs here?

  • Brett L||

    Apparently, the local team is playing in some sort of football game out there tonight.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Doesn't Florida have tons of humidity? And giant cockroaches, I mean palmetto bugs, and boas, crocodiles, mosquitoes, Miami....

  • GILMORE||

    IfI had to choose between rednecks and Floridians, I'd take the rednecks. Rednecks can cook. Plus their children as less 'guido-y'. I fucking hate guidos. I think Florida is the only place outside the Tri-State area where they have their own special homegrown brand of them.

    Oh, and tourists. Doesn't that just put a cherry on top?

  • Brett L||

    This is why I won't live less than 50 miles north of the I-4.

  • ||

    And wild parrots, and sinkholes, and jillions of geezers who can't see or turn their heads but still drive. The terrain makes Kansas look like the Alps in comparison, and the twistiest roads to be found are highway onramps. Also, those giant roaches can fucking fly.

  • playa manhattan||

    Empty strip malls are what really creeped me out. I guess we have those here too, if you drive far enough inland.

  • Snark Plissken||

    I had a friend who grew up in Florida, I think his parents were older and retired fairly young, he hated geezers.

    He used to say that young people should retire and let those old people do everything, because it was impossible to do anything like mow a lawn in Florida without a bunch of bored old guys coming over saying, "Here son, let me show you how to do that."

  • GILMORE||

    "He used to say that young people should retire and let those old people do everything"

    My buddy wrote a book sort of like that =

    http://www.amazon.com/Early-Bi.....0743270584

    "What happens when an able-bodied 28-year-old decides to "retire" in a Florida senior community? It may seem like the setup for a Carl Hiaasen novel, but it's actually the project Rothman thinks up after losing his television job. Following through with his plan, Rothman comically probes Boca Raton's Century Village. He infiltrates the social hierarchy of the "pool group," eats dinner at the local early-bird specials and joins a shuffleboard club. He captures these experiences in short, humorous chapters, consistently detailing his own physical and mental failings compared to the seniors he meets..."

    He actually quit that job with Letterman, but that's not really the point.

  • Agammamon||

    Plus, you might get to see the antics of Florida Man first hand.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    California needs a cut-and-run tax.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    You can't renounce your Californian residency! Your income shall continue to be taxed in perpetuity.

  • ||

    Hey, that's the attitude of the federal government, why not California too?

  • Loki||

    You can't renounce your Californian residency! Your income shall continue to be taxed in perpetuity.

    You jest, but something like that happened to my parents. Back in '92 we lived in CA when my dad got laid off from the the hospital he worked at and found a new job back in TX. He had to go over to start work while my mom and us kids stayed back and sold the house. Since my dad's name was on the mortgage, they actually did try to tax the income he earned in TX during that time. I still shows up from time to time on his credit report as a tax lien from the state of CA. Fuck CA.

  • Griffin3||

    Can't find the exact link, I thought I originally saw it on Coyote's blog. Many people who have moved from California have had thousands of dollars withdrawn from their bank accounts, a couple years later, for "unpaid taxes" on businesses they no longer own, because ... they moved out of California. Or just FYTW. Typical case: WTF? State of California taking money out of my checking acct?. There are many of these out there.

  • John C. Randolph||

    That's bank fraud. If the state of California wants to take your money legally, they have to sue you, win the case, and get a judgement.

    -jcr

  • Drake||

    NJ has one if you have a 2nd residence there.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Hey, no copying us!

    Our beloved governor (who has parked his millions into a trust in South Dakota to evade taxes) thinks anyone living in Sunny Minnesota for more than 60 days should still pay taxes here.

  • H. Protagonist||

    We're working on it. I've had several friends who've moved out of state find themselves with a lien put on their bank accounts by the Franchise Tax Board. Why? Because the DMV claims to be owed for registration fees for cars that haven't been in the state for years.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Jesus, what a crybaby. Doesn't he know some of the rats in the experiment are supposed to die?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Is ther L.A. Times going to report on this?

  • Almanian!||

    Having done bidness in Cali - but no more and never again unless things change - not likely in my lifetime - I honestly don't know how or why ANYONE does business in Califoria. Literally the worst in the US. New York (city, esp) is driving hard to catch them, but they have a way to go. Which tells you something...

    Fuck Cali.

  • Doctor Whom||

    For example, it took 7 separate permits from the County (each requiring a substantial payment) just to remove a wooden deck that the County inspector had condemned.

    If you think that it should have taken only six permits, then why don't you move to Somalia?

  • WTF||

    This is the cost of civilization. If only the hoarders, wreckers, and kulaks like Meyer could be prevented from leaving.

  • Hyperion||

    Welcome to the Hotel California, you can check in any time you want, but...

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    +10 dark desert highways

  • Hyperion||

    As soon as Cali can get rid of ALL the evil profit seeking Koch minions, who don't want to pay their fair share, then they can finally achieve utopia. You know, since there won't be anyone left except for people who aren't trying to make evil profits and who want to pay more taxes.

  • creech||

    Please, why do you hate the monocle sellers?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Some deserving family member of a California politician NEEDS that campground concession to maintain a solid middle class lifestyle.

  • Andrew S.||

    Two tweets from Popehat related to this same general subject:

    Popehat
    ‏@Popehat
    Permits for remodel to one room in my house, already delayed 14 months, will now be delayed more under a new CA law.... (1\2)...
    Popehat
    ‏@Popehat
    ...that says I can't get any permit for ANY remodel unless we have low-flow toilets. Even though the remodel is not to a bathroom. (2/2)
  • B.P.||

    Well, low-flow toilets in the kitchen it is, then.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    can't get any permit for ANY remodel unless we have low-flow toilets

    The chlorine manufacturers approve.

  • From the Tundra||

    Didn't the dumb-fucks pass a residential fire sprinkler requirement, too? I assume that's only for new construction, tho.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Those sprinklers are really going to help when the fire is moving sideways at 50 mph through the eucalyptus trees.

  • From the Tundra||

    Seriously. I'm sure the pipefitters and suppliers are loving it, but what a ridiculous mandate. Of course, in doing some checking, my commie-lite state is not far behind. For anyone interested:

    http://www.firesprinklerinitia.....state.aspx

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    When my alma mater put fire sprinklers in their new dormitories, they got set off 3 times during the first school year. Each instance dropped almost a foot of water on the offending floor. They had eight foot ceilings with sprinklers protruding below ceiling height.

    As I recall, the triggers were:

    1 - a frisbee
    2 - a guy in the top bunk with a rather vigorous sexual thrust
    3 - a typical college moron who tried to dry his gymbag on the stovetop

  • playa manhattan||

    #3 is functioning as intended. Re: #2, I would love to be able to say that my stroke is so strong that it sets off fire sprinklers.

  • db||

    At Penn State, they had the dorms in East Halls designed such that no sprinklers were.needed. at least one room in one building burned so.completely it was not used for years, but the rest.of the building was apparently entirely undamaged.

  • ||

    I paid $196 in permit fees a few years ago to install $240 worth of insulation under my roof. They were going to make me pay another $150 fee if I wanted to remove the abandoned knob and tube wiring up there. The inspector said it was so the the fire department would know what to look for if the house ever went up in flames. Yeah, I'm sure the FD is on the phone with the county building inspector on their way to every alarm. Ventura County is insane with this crap.

  • Spoonman.||

    Why get a permit to put in insulation in your attic?

  • ||

    I didn't want to, but had no choice. I was replacing the roof, and I have a neighbor who's addicted to sticking his nose into other people's business, so I had to get a permit for the roof or he would have turned me in to the roof police for failure to ask permission to make improvements to my own property. With the old asphalt up I found the decking was bad in a few spots, so I pulled that up too. The house has a flat roof, so there's no attic or access under the decking without going through the roof, and with some of the decking up I discovered there was no insulation up there. So the building inspector shows up to verify I have torn up the old roof and wants to know why I have some rolls of insulation stacked up in the corner. I tell him I'm going to put that in before I put the decking back down. Oh, no, I can't do that because I don't have insulation on my permit. The fuck. And if I want to remove the knob and tub wiring, which is not connected to anything, that's yet another permit. So my wife runs down to the county office to pull a permit for the insulation and wiring. Rainy season is approaching quickly and my house has no roof on it, and I'm getting more irritated with the county by the hour. $196 for the insulation, and another $150 for the wiring removal. She pays for the insulation and figures we can just forget about the knob and tube. The way I see it, the wiring will be invisible when the insulation is in, so I yank it anyway, because fuck them.

  • ||

    I put in the insulation, cover the roof with a few giant tarps to keep the rain out, and wait two days for the inspector to come back. He asked about the knob and tube and I tell him I just left it there because there's no way in hell I'm paying $150 for permission to take something out that hasn't been used in 50 years. The inspector said he had no idea it cost that much. Whatever, asshole. Decking goes down in an afternoon. Put tarps back on and wait two days for an inspection. Flashing and caulking go on in an afternoon, then tarps, then wait two days for an inspection. Asphalt and rolled roofing go on in another afternoon, tarp it up, wait two more days for an inspection. Finally I get the cap flashing in and caulked, and wait two more days for the final inspection. Asshole inspector shows up and tells me it's lucky I'm done because the big dumpster in my driveway for the tear off would have been there more than the allowed number of days without a permit for that. Pricks, one and all.

  • Anvil||

    No wonder there are so many regulations and fees, they have to pay the "Roof Police" too.

  • John C. Randolph||

    I have a neighbor who's addicted to sticking his nose into other people's business,

    Hmm... A couple of goons to scare the shit out of the neighbor would probably have cost you less than a hundred bucks.

    -jcr

  • playa manhattan||

    The fire department needs to know where the utilities disconnect is. Thats it. The rest is bullshit.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Meyer noted at the end that while California’s high-tax climate is often eyed as being a business-killer, it wasn’t as large an issue for him. California’s horrible regulatory structure and fee system doesn’t get nearly enough attention

    This is paralleled in arguments about unions. Paying above-market wages is a problem, but the work rules really hobble productivity and profitability.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Paying above-market wages is a problem, but the work rules really hobble productivity and profitability.

    I knew a guy from Pittsburgh who worked in a steel mill one summer while he was out of school. He said the plant was capable of 5 heats a day, but only did 2 a day due to work rules.

  • ||

    Don't like the union rules n'at? Fuck you. What the fuck are yinz fucks in management gonna do, move the mill to China? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • kinnath||

    What the fuck are yinz fucks in management gonna do, move the mill to China?

    Uh, yes.

  • db||

    Or Argentina. That's where the furnaces from at least one mill in Johnstown, PA went. The best part was the union members climbing up each others' backs to be the last laid off while they were disassembling the mill equipment for.shipping south.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    It's sad and kind of funny. I grew up in a town not far away from a smaller steel town (Phoenixville, PA). The town at one time was the home of Phoenix Steel. The steel mill shut down in the early 80s. In the late 80s, a firm wanted to buy the closed mill and reopen it. As I recall, the first reaction of the former employees was to start dictating the work rules the mill would operate under. The firm wound up demurring. I can't for the life of me understand how it is that you could reach the logical end of a policy (mill closure), be given a second chance, and STILL want to continue the policy.

    Now the town is an extension of the tonier suburbs of Philadelphia.

  • db||

    Yep, Phoenixville is now basically nothing but old.people, a downtown strip trying.desperately to be trendy, and no other economic activity apparent. Other than mural painters and ironic coffee shop artists/musicians.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I visited about a year ago, and it struck me that the town was sort of in the line of expansion for the Main Line. Fairly busy nightlife along the strip.

    That said, the only debate is whether it's dead or in the process of gentrification.

  • db||

    Maybe I was a bit harsh there, but it is hard to see what Phoenixville has going for it.

  • creech||

    Well,it still beats another failed steel town, Coatesville.

  • DEG||

    Phoenixville is not Pottstown.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "...but it is hard to see what Phoenixville has going for it."

    As an entity on its own? Nothing. As a bedroom community servicing young professionals from the office parks in Valley Forge, King of Prussia and Chesterbrook?

    1. Decent location
    2. A lot of "cute" old buildings ready to be redeveloped at a bargain price
    3. For suburban Chester county, a relatively bustling nightlife

  • db||

    All true. I should recalibrate. The Iron Bridge (i think?) has pretty good beer.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    None of this really invalidates your point, though. The town doesn't really stand on its own, anymore. The town pretty much killed itself enough to be attractive for alternate uses. And the people who made the bad decisions won't be the ones benefiting from its reinvention. And what I'm talking about is far from guaranteed.

  • Anvil||

    You forgot about "BlobFest"

  • Drake||

    I love the new "no business tax for a decade" in New York commercials I keep seeing on TV. You still have to deal with New York regulators - and you are fucked if you can't move in 10 years. Why not go somewhere with no taxes ever?

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    Anyone who leaves California to avoid paying their fair share is as bad as Hitler....only worse!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    you are fucked if you can't move in 10 years.

    I'm just spitballing, here, but something tells me there's a clawback provision in that deal which puts you on the hook for taxes plus interest and penalties if you suddenly decide to relocate to Wyoming after seven or eight years.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I'm just spitballing, here, but something tells me there's a clawback provision in that deal which puts you on the hook for taxes plus interest and penalties if you suddenly decide to relocate to Wyoming after seven or eight years.

    Something tells me that you're on the hook in NY even if you stay for the full 10.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Something tells me that you're on the hook in NY even if you stay for the full 10.

    No kidding. I would not bother to feign surprise if "tax free" is actually "tax deferred" when you read the fine print.

  • Root Boy||

    Have to leave somebody behind enemy lines.

  • GILMORE||

    COSMOTARIANISM

  • Eric Bana||

    This is what's so defeating. Even at the local level the government can unimaginably fuck things up.

  • Mainer2||

    My wife and I go to the Monterey peninsula every August for car week (highly recommended to any car guys on the forum).

    There was a house that had been damaged due to a land slide. The owner had to rebuild to current standards, but he historic commission denied permits because he would be changing the house. So he was caught between two bureacracies.

    One YEAR later the story was still in the papers. I have no idea where the people were living while they fought this.

  • playa manhattan||

    My neighbor takes his Lambos up there every August. If there ever was a guy who didn't deserve to own awesome cars...

  • Mainer2||

    Funny you mention Lambos, as the first year we went (1998 actually), one of my first impressions was in traffic approaching Carmel and there were 5 Lamborghinis in the lane next to me. Five. Porsches, Ferraris, Lambos are a dime a dozen on the peninsula during car week. It's just car guy heaven.

  • Don Mynack||

    io9 just went full retard, again.

    http://io9.com/is-bitcoin-evil.....1495301399

  • Andrew S.||

    Being a Gawker site, full retard is the natural state of being for io9.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Anyone who cites Paulie Krugman as an authority is beyond full retard.

    -jcr

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Lambos? Blecch.

    The only truly awesome Lambo was the Miura.

  • Richard Rider||

    GREAT article! I'll be circulating this.

    If you'd like to know more about how CA stacks up with the other states, my JUST-updated fact sheet was posted 1-11-14 by the California Public Policy Center. Dreary stuff, but all with sources.
    http://californiapublicpolicyc.....14-update/

  • Richard Rider||

    One other point: The article mentions the perceived problems with Prop 13 constrainging CA spending. But the truth is that, from a REVENUE standpoint, most CA counties are collecting more property tax revenue today than the bloated year BEFORE Prop 13 passed --

  • Richard Rider||

    -- . . . more property tax revenue today than the bloated year (1977) BEFORE Prop 13 passed -- EVEN AFTER ADJUSTING FOR BOTH INFLATION AND POPULATION GROWTH.
    http://riderrants.blogspot.com.....perty.html

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