Libertarian Businessman Says Goodbye to California with the New Year
Death by a thousand regulation-mandated cuts
Libertarian 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.