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CoCo County Millionaires: Are You Ready To Quit California?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is wooing Calfornia's CEOs. Tempted?

Are you thinking that it’s time to do the Depardieu—time to take your money and citizenship to some place more hospitable—Russia perhaps, or maybe Texas?

Just as Vladimir Putin courted Gerard Depardieu, who had been shopping for a new homeland ever since France's Socialist government proposed slapping a 75 percent tax rate on the movie star’s fortune, Texas Gov. Rick Perry this week has been peddling the low-regulation, tax-free virtues of Texas to Californians. In response, Gov. Jerry Brown abandoned his Latin to call Perry’s pitch a “fart.”

But does the Lone Star campaign represent more than a passing gust of unpleasantness in the state's otherwise improving economic atmosphere? While Perry is chiefly wooing CEOs, the Contra Costa Times published an article Friday pointing to anecdotal evidence suggesting that rich Californians have had enough. The Times quoted a realtor in Lake Tahoe and a “business relocation specialist” in Irvine, both said that large numbers of people are taking their money across the state line. Or at least want to.

"I'm hearing more angst from these people and a desire to get out faster than I'm normally accustomed to hearing," the relocation specialist told the Times.

According to these sources, Prop 30, which increased the maximum state income tax rate by three percent for seven years, is the culprit. To be sure, California’s millionaires pay a lot to the government, almost 52 percent in state and federal taxes. That’s more than any other state and the highest combined rate in California since WWII, according to the New York Times.

The New York Times makes a more sober assessment of the possibility of mass millionaire migration. An article on Wednesday found plenty of disgruntled rich Californians, but none who were packing their suitcases.

What do you think? Are you a business owner or high income individual thinking about leaving California? Have you investigated any of the options that allow you to remain in the Golden State while your money lives somewhere else? 

MIKE ALFORD February 12, 2013 at 04:25 AM
NO ! I Dont Think I Will Move To Texas ! I Like It Right Here ! Yes I Will Just Spend My Money Right Here In Good Old MARTINEZ !!!!
Julie Donlon February 14, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Having left Lamorinda this past summer I know there is an exodus of sorts. We left because even though we are not " millionaires" we are consider so by Jerry Brown's standards. We had a lovely home in Lafayette but felt we were grinding out day to day just to get by - sorry all the sun in the world is not enough to take away the feelings of always being behind the eight ball. We moved back to Washington were we had moved to from Alamo. No state income tax, similar property tax without all the add ons, free public education that is great, wonderful people, great food, lovely scenery (when it's not raining - ha), and the ability to travel because we no have money to spend on it. I love California we just couldn't bear living there anymore. BTW my husband is a native and he - and many others - will tell you it's not the California they grew up in....
c5 February 14, 2013 at 08:52 PM
Way to read the script cap'n. Unfortunately it bears no resemblance to economic reality. If you look at the distribution of taxes currently, the wealthy are paying a higher percentage of the overall income tax burden than ever before, and look at the fiscal mess we are in at every level of government. Those are the facts.
c5 February 14, 2013 at 08:59 PM
You hit the nail on the head. The problem is that it won't take many to leave to have a massive negative impact on this state. The tax jump has never been this dramatic (7.6% at the top of the income tax scale) and people, jobs and businesses have never been as mobile as they are now. Maybe behavior won't change, but I am betting that it does. People and businesses don't even have to leave to have an impact, all they have to do is to reallocate assets. We are already altering our behavior as a result of the double tax whammy. No more assets going into this state, cutting charitable contributions here, cutting other costs, etc. I believe that at the margin tax rates do matter, and if you don't agree just take a look at what happened around year end with all the special dividend payments made and deals rushed by year end. I think in a couple of years we will look back and realize what a massive mistake we made in prop 30. Time will tell.
Dive Turn Work February 14, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Meh.

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