Posts Tagged ‘Plano’

Texas vs. California Update for April 20, 2017

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

This didn’t get done while I was doing my taxes, but here, at last, is another giant Texas vs. California update:

  • Appeals court finds San Diego’s pension reform legal. “California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal unanimously overturned a 2015 state labor board ruling that said the cutbacks were illegal because of then-Mayor Jerry Sanders’ involvement in the successful citizens’ initiative that made the changes.” San Diego transitioned to a 401K style program. Naturally public employee unions screamed bloody murder and sought to have the reforms overturned. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Unions attempts to role back San Diego’s pension reforms amounted to an attempt to retroactively apply collective bargaining to older laws.
  • More: It’s “shocking the agency’s officials would have even argued that a union’s right to negotiate pay and benefits trumps the public’s right to hold an election.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “The number of people enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in California alone exceeds the total populations of 44 of the other states of the union, according to data published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Census Bureau.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • California exports its working poor to Texas.

    Every year from 2000 through 2015, more people left California than moved in from other states. This migration was not spread evenly across all income groups, a Sacramento Bee review of U.S. Census Bureau data found. The people leaving tend to be relatively poor, and many lack college degrees. Move higher up the income spectrum, and slightly more people are coming than going.

    About 2.5 million people living close to the official poverty line left California for other states from 2005 through 2015, while 1.7 million people at that income level moved in from other states – for a net loss of 800,000. During the same period, the state experienced a net gain of about 20,000 residents earning at least five times the poverty rate – or $100,000 for a family of three.

    Snip.

    The leading destination for those leaving California is Texas, with about 293,000 economically disadvantaged residents leaving and about 137,000 coming for a net loss of 156,000 from 2005 through 2015. Next up are states surrounding California; in order, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.

  • Hat tip for the above is this Zero Hedge piece, which notes “By some measures, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation. And as more and more residents leave, the burden to fund the state’s welfare exuberance will fall more and more on the wealthier (that actually pay taxes). Rather than secession, perhaps it’s time for the wealthy to join ‘the poor’ exodus and beat the crowd out of California…”
  • A look at a California tent city of 1,000 people.
  • Kevin Williamson on why Houston’s diversity is different than the liberal ideal of same:

    Living in a place where it is less of a struggle to pay the rent or make the mortgage payment does indeed chill most everybody out a little bit. But it is not at all obvious that what Houston — or Texas at large — enjoys is in fact a culture that is generally welcoming to immigrants in a way that is different from Scottsdale or Trenton or Missoula. What Texas does have is something close to the opposite of that: a large and very well-integrated Mexican-American community. Anglos in Texas aren’t welcoming to Latinos because we are in some way uniquely open to the unfamiliar, but because they are not unfamiliar.

    This matters in ways that are not obvious if you didn’t grow up with it. My native West Texas, along with the whole of the border and much of the rest of the state, has a longstanding, stable Anglo–Latin hybrid culture. Houston does, too, but Houston, being a very large city, is a little more complicated; I had lunch yesterday with a conservative leader who chatted amiably with the staff in Spanish at . . . an Indian restaurant.

    That robust hybrid culture ensures that the people Anglos hear speaking Spanish are not always poor, not mowing the lawn or cleaning a hotel room, that they are not usually immigrants, not people who cannot speak or read English — not alien. They are neighbors who, if you are lucky, make Christmas tamales. And they might be your employer or your employee, the guy who sells you a car or approves your car loan, a pastor at your church, a professor, a member of your Ultimate Frisbee team . . . or an illegal immigrant, or a criminal, or someone who is in some way unassimilated, alien, or threatening. When one out of three people in your county is “Hispanic” — a word that in Texas overwhelmingly means “Mexican-American” — then you tend to know Hispanic people of all descriptions: the good, the bad, and the ordinary.

    That is not the case in, say, Arlington, Va., which does not have a large and well-assimilated Mexican-American population but does have a large and poorly assimilated population of Spanish-speaking immigrants. The two things are not the same — more like opposites. Add to that the fact, sometimes lost on Anglos, that there is no such thing as a “Hispanic” culture or population, that people with roots in Mexico do not think of themselves as being part of a single cultural group that includes people from Central America and South America. A while back, I heard an older fellow of Mexican background complaining about the Guatemalans moving into his area — and he was an illegal immigrant. That’s a funny reality: In Texas, even some of the illegals don’t think that we can let just anybody cross the border. But ethnic politics is a strange business: In West Texas, young whites without much money (college students and the like) who would never for a moment seriously consider moving into a low-income black neighborhood will not give a second thought to moving into a largely Hispanic neighborhood.

    All of which is not to say that Texas does not have a fair number of poorly assimilated Spanish-speaking immigrants: It surely does, especially in the big cities. (People forget how urban Texas is: Six of the 20 largest U.S. cities are in Texas.) But it is easier to accommodate — and, one hopes, to assimilate — those newcomers when you have a culture of mutual familiarity and trust, which is based not on newcomers but on oldcomers. Texas’s ancient Mexican-American community — whose members famously boast, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us!” — is a kind of buffer that makes absorbing newcomers less stressful.

  • Leaving coastal California is a ‘no-brainer‘ for some as housing costs rise.”

    Huntington Beach residents Chris Birtwistle and Allison Naitmazi were about to get married and decided it was time to buy a home.

    They wanted to stay in the area but couldn’t find a house they both liked and could reasonably afford — despite a dual income of around $150,000.

    So they decided to go inland — all the way to Arizona, where they recently opened escrow on a $240,000, four-bedroom house with a pool just outside Phoenix. Their monthly mortgage payment will be about $500 less than what they paid for a two-bedroom apartment in the Orange County beach community.

  • “California again leads list with 6 of the top 10 most polluted U.S. cities.” Versus zero for Texas. So they have the nation’s most stringent pollution laws…and the nation’s worst air pollution. (Golf clap) (Hat tip: Chuck DeVore’s Twitter feed.)
  • 16 Reasons Not To Live In California. Samples (snippage implied):

    #2 Out of all 50 states, the state of California has been ranked as the worst state for business for 12 years in a row…
    #3 California has the highest state income tax rates in the entire nation. For many Americans, the difference between what you would have to pay if you lived in California and what you would have to pay if you lived in Texas could literally buy a car every single year.
    #4 The state government in Sacramento seems to go a little bit more insane with each passing session.
    #5 The traffic in the major cities just keeps getting worse and worse. According to USA Today, Los Angeles now has the worst traffic in the entire world, and San Francisco is not far behind.

  • CalSTRS’ funded status falls to 64% as deficit grows $21 billion following rate reduction.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Texas is on its way to passing a conservative budget.
  • A Democrat-sponsored bill in the California legislature guarantees free healthcare for all, without specifying a way to pay for it. Maybe they’ll institute a unicorn tax… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Leslie Eastman at Legal Insurrection spells out exactly what Californians would actually get under the plan:
    • With no choice, there is no competition, unless you are wealthy enough to leave the state for medical care. However, this is a golden opportunity for medical tourism companies!

    • There will be a limited supply of doctors, as those who don’t want to go through the bureaucratic hoops for procedures and payment will also leave the state.
    • Clinicians will be forced to make their treatment decisions based on the state-run rules: Why choose surgery when a pill will do?
    • Shockingly, some funds need to be directed to other budget items instead of perks for illegal aliens (refer to Oroville Dam for a handy reference).
    • Medicare, the system that is the foundation for this proposal, is rife with waste, fraud and abuse (e.g., 3 Floridians bilked the system for $1 billion).
    • Co-pays and deductibles will be transformed into monies paid for non-state government healthcare services (like the Canadians who cross into the United States to obtain MRI’s and other innovative treatments).
    • Public oversight will translate into political wheeling-and-dealing strictly for the benefit of those plugged into the rigged system. An indication that Sacramento may be headed for such a system, I offer this piece published in The Sacramento Bee for consideration: Why California must accept more corruption.
    • The cost of drugs has soared, despite Obamacare. As an example, I had a skin medication that would cost me $150 for an annual supply. The same medication now costs nearly $1000 a year, and I no longer use it.
  • In order to further bestow members of the ruling Democratic coalition with rights and privileges mere citizens don’t enjoy, California’s Senate Bill 807 proposes making teachers exempt from state income tax. Some pigs are evidently way, way more equal than others…
  • Teacher’s unions have helped create California’s teacher shortage. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California hikes its gas taxes yet again, making them the highest in the nation.
  • Pension liabilities are pinching in Gilroy, California: “Gilroy’s three biggest public employers have amassed more than $183 million in unpaid pension liabilities. That’s likely more than ever, and a figure that, absent major reform, will grow and siphon budget funds from essential public services, say officials and pension experts. In Gilroy, 23 city pensions exceed $100,000 and more than 60 exceed $70,000.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Court to determine whether California’s public employee union members can simply continue to buy years of service rather than actually working them.
  • Silicon Valley slows down. “Tech companies in San Francisco and San Mateo counties lost 700 jobs from January to February and tech employment has dropped by 3,200 jobs since hitting a peak last August.”
  • What the lords of Silicon Valley actually think: “Inequality is a feature, not a bug.”
  • Hold on to your seats for this one: California’s government actually did something right, legalizing the selling of home-made food. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “Hotel construction continues apace in the United States, and dozens of new properties are expected to open this year in two major corporate and tourist destinations, New York and Los Angeles. But the three other cities with the most hotels projected to open in 2017, according to the industry research company STR, are all in Texas — Dallas, Houston and Austin.” Notice the implied condescension in the NYT piece: New York and LA are real places, whereas Dallas, Houston and Austin are “other cities.”

    More:

    The number of new hotels in Texas is notable. In 2017, Marriott plans to open eight hotels in Austin, seven in Houston and 23 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to the company. Ninety-two other Marriott hotels are in the planning stages for the three metro areas. Hilton says it is planning for 75 new hotels there. InterContinental Hotels Group has more than 100 hotel projects in the Austin, Dallas and Houston metro areas, including the Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza, Even Hotels, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, InterContinental Hotels and Resorts and Staybridge Suites brands.

    Austin is home to the state capital; the University of Texas at Austin, a campus with 50,000 students; and a long list of technology companies. Its growing recreation and dining scene is attracting more leisure travelers, filling guest rooms on weekends and making the city “more of a seven-day-a-week hotel market,” according to Tim Powell, the managing director for development for Hilton’s southwest region.

  • A bankruptcy judge in the Eastern District of California plays Santa Claus with a bank’s money.
  • Just what illegal aliens cost California.
  • “L.A. To Worsen Housing Shortage With New Rent Controls.”
  • “California Dems Promise Taxpayer Dollars to Defend Illegal Immigrants.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Calpers Is Sick of Paying Too Much for Private Equity…Pension fund’s private-equity returns were 12.3% over 20 years, but they would have been 19.3% without fees and costs.” (WSJ hoops apply.) (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Texas top state for number of new, expanded corporate facilities for fifth consecutive year.”
  • It’s not just Oroville Dam that needs maintenance: a section of Highway 50 collapsed in February. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Jerry Brown wants to spend nearly $450 million on flood control following dam emergency.”
  • “A state senator is removed from the chamber for her comments about Tom Hayden and Vietnam.” Namely for noting that Hayden supported “a communist government that enslaved and/or killed millions of Vietnamese, including members of my own family.” Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) came to America as a Vietnamese refugee, and Democrats were incensed she was allowed to speak truth to power when it came to hagiography for one of their own. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Crime Increasing in California After ‘Prison Reform.'”
  • Selling carbon indulgences just isn’t what it used to be under Trump:

    February’s quarterly auction of carbon dioxide emission allowances under California’s cap and trade program was another financial washout for the state.

    Results for last week’s auction were posted Wednesday morning, revealing that just 16.5 percent of the 74.8 million metric tons of emission allowances were sold at the floor price of $13.57 per ton.

    The state auctions emission allowances to polluters and speculators as part of its program to reduce greenhouse gases. The proceeds are supposed to be spent on public programs to slow climate change.

    February’s auction is being closely watched by market analysts because the last three quarterly auctions in 2016 posted sub-par results.

    Almost all of February’s proceeds went either to California’s utilities, who sell allowances they receive free from the Air Resources Board, or the Canadian province of Quebec, which offers emission allowances through California. Both are first in line when auction proceeds are apportioned.

    The ARB was offering 43.7 million tons of state-owned emission allowances, but sold just 602,340 tons of advance 2020 allowances, which means the state will see only $8.2 million, rather than the nearly $600 million it could have received from a sellout.

    (Hat tip: Chuck DeVore on Twitter.)

  • California’s high speed train-to-nowhere is still doomed.
  • “Six former LA safety officers collected pension payouts of over $1,000,000 apiece last year.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Oakland Fire Chief Announces Retirement Days After Pension Vested, Warehouse Fire Probe Continues.”
  • San Rafael has the the highest pension costs in California by percentage of their total budget (18%). “Money that goes to one thing can’t go to another thing, so if you’re spending almost $1 out of $5 on pension payments, that is a lot less money available for tangible public services such as filling potholes, keeping the library open and making sure there is sufficient police protection.”
  • Remember Anthony Silva, mayor of formerly bankrupt Stockton? He’s been arrested again, this time for embezzling “at least $74,000 from the Stockton Kids Club over the past five years.” That would be the same Anthony Silva who is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, whose own guns were stolen and used in crimes, and who was also arrested for “for playing strip poker with minor and giving them alcohol while at a youth camp.” Given such august leadership, I can’t imagine how Stockton went bankrupt… (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • New survey of the Permian Basin in Texas shows that there’s another 20 billion barrels of recoverable oil than previously thought.
  • More on the fracking boom:

  • Minimum wage hike watch: Wendy’s to try out more than 1000 self-serve kiosks.
  • San Francisco’s wage hike is already closing restaurants. Especially those that serve affordable food. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • California’s “hide actor’s age” law struck down.
  • “Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca found guilty on obstruction of justice and other charges.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • I would like to celebrate Austin Austin having the shortest commute time in this study of major cities except, since I now experience that commute time every weekday, I can tell you that 16 minute estimate is utter crap. Maybe Austin is the best if the commute time for other cities is similarly underestimated. By contrast, the Austin rental rate of $476 a week seems slightly high, while the London rate of $489 a week seems way too low…
  • Kubota Tractor Corp. finished its’ U.S. headquarters from Torrance, California, to Grapevine, Texas. (Previously.)
  • “West Plano’s $3 billion Legacy West development has landed another big name business. Boeing will locate the headquarters for its newly formed global services division in the 250-acre mixed-use project at the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121.”
  • Los Angeles-based fashion company Nasty Gal declares bankruptcy. Also, nice proofreading on this subhead, LA Times: “Why couldn’t they the company hold on to shoppers?” Note: That’s still up for a story published February 24th…
  • Los Angeles clothing brand BCBG Max Azria Group, owner of Hervé Leger, also filed for bankruptcy.
  • The City of St. Louis sues the NFL, and all 32 NFL teams, over the Rams relocation to Los Angeles.
  • “L.A. County Sheriff’s Department switches from silver to gold belt buckles at a cost of $300,000.” That’s some might fine resource allocation there, Lou… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Texas vs. California Update for June 2, 2016

    Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

    Time for another Texas vs. California update:

  • Once again, Texas is ranked as the best state for business by CEO Magazine, while California is ranked the worst. (Hat tip: Rider Rants via Pension Tsunami.)
  • This OC Register piece offers an good restatement of the general problem:

    California has earned quite a reputation for being openly hostile to business, as confirmed by numerous studies and surveys. Its plethora of taxes and regulations are driving away legions of entrepreneurs and workers, but they are doing wonders for one segment of the economy: the moving industry. It is almost as though that industry is secretly lobbying the state Legislature for its anti-business policies.

    Joe Vranich, as president of Spectrum Location Solutions, an Irvine business relocation consulting firm, knows all about what drives businesses’ decisions to give up and leave for greener pastures. According to his research, in just the past seven years, approximately 9,000 businesses have decided to leave California or expand their operations out of state. Companies leaving California typically save between 20 percent and 35 percent of operating costs, he concluded.

    Texas has been the biggest beneficiary of California’s business exodus.

    Snip.

    California’s litigious climate has become a common complaint of business owners. No wonder the American Tort Reform Foundation once again named California the No. 1 “Judicial Hellhole” in the nation last year, based on the state’s excessive laws and regulations and a flood of disability access, asbestos and food advertising and labeling lawsuits, frequently more opportunistic attempts at extortion than legitimate attempts to seek justice for victims who have been truly harmed.

    California has proven to be a particularly harsh climate for manufacturing businesses. “Even if California were to eliminate the state income taxes tomorrow, that still would not be enough,” CellPoint Corp. CEO Ehsan Gharatappeh told the Dallas Business Journal of the Costa Mesa company’s move to Forth Worth.

    General Magnaplate Corp., which has made reinforced parts for the aerospace, transportation, medical, oil and other industries for 36 years, decided to shut down its California facility in Ventura altogether. “This is a very sad day for our employees and for my family, who have a long history of job creation in this area, but the simple fact is that the state of California does not provide a business-friendly environment,” CEO Candida Aversenti said in a press release. “Increases in workers’ compensation costs and government regulations, combined with predatory citizens groups and law firms that make their living entirely by preying on small businesses, have left us with no other choice but to shut down our California facility. This is in stark contrast to our New Jersey and Texas facilities, which are flourishing in small business-friendly environments created by the respective local governments and environmental agencies.”

  • Tech layoffs double in the Bay area:

    Yahoo’s 279 workers let go this year contributed to the 3,135 tech jobs lost in the four-county region of Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda and San Francisco counties from January through April, as did the 50 workers axed at Toshiba America in Livermore and the 71 at Autodesk in San Francisco. In the first four months of last year, just 1,515 Bay Area tech workers were laid off, according to mandatory filings under California’s WARN Act. For that period in 2014, the region’s tech layoffs numbered 1,330.

  • How did the California city of Irwindale rack up the largest per household market pension debt in the state, at $134,907 per household?
  • Low and negative interest rates means that CalPERS must make risky investments to even come close to hitting their yield targets:

    The nation’s largest public pension fund, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, has one-fifth of its assets in bonds and is down 1.3% since July 1, according to public documents. The system, known by its abbreviation Calpers, also has 53.1% of its assets in stocks, 9% in real estate and 9.4% in private equity. In 2015, Calpers posted a return of 2.4%, below its target rate of 7.5%.

    Nor is CalSTARS doing much better:

    The nation’s second-largest public pension plan, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, has shifted a significant amount of money away from some stocks and bonds to protect against a downturn. It moved assets into U.S. Treasurys and so-called liquid-alternative funds, which mimic hedge-fund strategies. Calstrs, as the pension is called, reported gains of 1.5% during a choppy 2015, with returns on its fixed-income investments up just 0.6%.

    (Note: WSJ link, so you may need to do the Google thing.)

  • News: Former CalPERS chief executive Fred Buenrostro convicted of bribery. California: Buenrostro will continue to receive his CalPERS pension while in prison. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Overview of the Texas budget.
  • UnitedHealth exits California’s Obamacare exchanges.
  • Despite that, California wants to offer ObamaCare subsidies to illegal aliens.
  • California also wants to spend more money to send illegal aliens to college.
  • And those illegal aliens with California driver’s licenses still aren’t purchasing liability insurance.
  • Hate California traffic? Tough:

    The newest outrage comes from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research in the form of a proposed “road diet.” This would essentially halt attempts to expand or improve our roads, even when improvements have been approved by voters. This strategy can only make life worse for most Californians, since nearly 85 percent of us use a car to get to work. This in a state that already has among the worst-maintained roads in the country, with two-thirds of them in poor or mediocre condition.

    Snip.

    In essence, the notion animating the “road diet” is to make congestion so terrible that people will be forced out of their cars and onto transit. It’s not planning for how to make the ways people live today more sustainable. It has, in fact, more in common with Soviet-style social engineering, which was based similarly on a particular notion of “science” and progressive values.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Toyota’s Plano headquarters takes shape.
  • The UAW is making a big push to unionize Tesla’s Fremont plant.
  • Speaking of Tesla, they’re approaching the grand opening of their giant battery factory…in Nevada.
  • McDonald’s CEO says a $15 minimum wage will make his restaurants shift to using robots. But what would McDonald’s know about minimum wage workers?
  • In the same vein, it’s no wonder that Whole Foods opened it’s first semi-automated Whole Foods 365 store in Los Angeles. “Promoted as a ‘chain for millennials,’ the new ‘365’ stores use about one-third less square footage than the company’s traditional 41,000-square-foot Whole Foods stores, but they also slash almost two-thirds of workers with robots and computerized kiosks.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Schedule for California high speed rail boondoggle pushed back four more years. Latest obstacle: wealthy equestrians. “Hey, this study says horses won’t mind a super-fast, super loud train zipping along right next to them.” “You mean the study from the institute that two bullet train authority members sit on? Get stuffed!”
  • “The State Assembly Subcommittee on Education voted Tuesday to delay funding to the UC system because of concerns with the UC Retirement Plan, proposed by UC President Janet Napolitano in March, which would cause the university to incur significant costs. The delay was announced after an actuarial report was released earlier that day by Pension Trustees Advisors, or PTA, which showed that the retirement plan would cost the university $500 million in savings, or $34 million a year, over the next 15 years.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Maywood, California (which had previously outsourced services to the corrupt city of Bell) is on the brink of bankruptcy. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • “Two L.A. sheriff’s deputies convicted of beating mentally ill inmate.”
  • San Francisco liberals versus the city’s police union
  • “Another aviation company has decided to move its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth to take advantage of the Lone Star state’s business friendly environment and the city’s longtime history in the aerospace industry. The move is historic for Burbank, California-based C&S Propeller — an FAA and EASA certified repair station for propeller and airplane maintenance — which has been in California for nearly five decades.”
  • This one’s a wash: XCOR lays off employees in both California and Texas.
  • Texas vs. California Update for March 31, 2016

    Thursday, March 31st, 2016

    Lots of Texas vs. California linky goodness, much of it via Jack Dean at Pension Tsunami, who’s been emailing me links of significant interest.

  • Texas continues to grow:

    As last week’s US Census Bureau population estimates indicated, the story of population growth between 2014 and 2015 was largely about Texas, as it has been for the decade starting 2010 (See: “Texas Keeps Getting Bigger” The New Metropolitan Area Estimates). The same is largely true with respect to population trends in the nation’s largest counties, with The Lone Star state dominating both in the population growth and domestic migration among 135 counties with more than 500,000 population.

    Snip.

    Houston, which is the fastest growing major metropolitan area (over 1 million population) in the nation includes the two fastest growing large counties. Fort Bend County added 4.29 percent to its population between 2014 and 2015 and now has 716,000 residents. Montgomery County grew 3.57 percent to 538,000. In addition to these two suburban Houston counties, Harris County, the core County ranked 16th in growth, adding 2.03 percent to its population and exceeding 4.5 million population.

    Dallas-Fort Worth, the second fastest-growing major metropolitan area has two counties among the top 20. The third fastest-growing county is Denton (located north of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport), which added 3.42 percent to its population over the past year and now has 781,000 residents. Collin County, to the north of Dallas County, grew 3.17 percent and now stands at 914,000 residents. Its current growth rate would put Collin County over 1 million population by the 2020 census.

    Travis County, with its county seat of Austin, grew 2.22 percent to 1,177,000 and ranked 12th. Bexar County, centered on San Antonio grew 2.01 percent and ranks 17th.

    Overall, Texas had four of the five fastest growing large counties, and seven of the top twenty. California had none. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • The Austin metropolitan area passes 2 million people.
  • The California Policy Center has a devestating roundup of what’s wrong with California’s economy. To wit:
    • “A now has by far the nation’s highest state income tax rate. We are 34% higher than 2nd place Oregon, and a heck of a lot higher than all the rest”

    • “CA has the highest state sales tax rate in the nation. 7.5% (does not include local sales taxes).”
    • “California in 2015 ranked 14th highest in per capita property taxes (including commercial) – the only major tax where we are not in the worst ten states. But the 2014 average CA single-family residence (SFR) property tax is the 8th highest state in the nation. Indeed, the median CA homeowner property tax bill is 93% higher than the average for the other 49 states.”
    • “California has a nasty anti-small business $800 minimum corporate income tax, even if no profit is earned, and even for many nonprofits. Next highest state is Rhode Island at $500 (only for “C” corporations). 3rd is Delaware at $175. Most states are at zero.”
    • “California’s 2015 ‘business tax climate’ ranks 3rd worst in the nation – behind New York and anchor-clanker New Jersey. In addition, CA has a lock on the worst rank in the Small Business Tax Index – a whopping 8.3% worse than 2nd worst state.”
    • “The American Tort Reform Foundation in 2015 again ranks CA the ‘worst state judicial hellhole’ in U.S. – the most anti-business.”
    • “CA public school teachers the 3rd highest paid in the nation. CA students rank 48th in math achievement, 49th in reading.”
    • “California’s real poverty rate (the new census bureau standard adjusted for COL) is easily the worst in the nation at 23.4%. We are 57.3% higher than the average for the other 49 states.”
    • “Of 100 U.S. real estate markets, in 2013 CA contained by far the least affordable middle class housing market (San Francisco). PLUS the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th.”

    It’s like a whole bunch of Texas vs. California roundup statistics all in one big green ball of fail. Read the whole thing. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “California’s 50% [minimum wage] increase would eliminate nearly 700,000 jobs—which means higher unemployment for the poor and least skilled in particular.”
  • Why did Carl’s Jr. flee California? Taxes, regulations and lawsuits.

    CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder told the Wall Street Journal in 2013, “California is not interested in having businesses grow.”

    The article points out that many factors, including local building regulations, make one community less desirable than another for businesses.

    For example, it takes 60 days in Texas, 63 in Shanghai, and 125 in Novosibirsk, Russia for one of CKE’s restaurants to get a building permit after signing a lease. But in Los Angeles, Ca. it takes a whopping 285 days.

    Puzder added, “I can open up a restaurant faster on Karl Marx Prospect in Siberia than on Carl Karcher Boulevard in California.” The street in California is ironically named for the restaurant chain’s founder.

    California’s labor regulations may also play a role in a company’s desire to seek alternative locations. In that same interview with WSJ, Puzder said his company had spent $20 million in the state over the past eight years on damages and attorney fees related to class-action lawsuits.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • Justice Scalia’s death dooms the Friedrichs vs. California Teacher’s Association lawsuit.
  • “If a Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research’s estimate is accurate, public pension debt in California is even worse than feared. Preliminary calculations from a forthcoming SIEPR study peg the unfunded retirement tab for state and local government employees at more than $1.2 trillion.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Texas unemployment rates drops to 4.4%.
  • San Bernardino’s bondholders get screwed so the bankrupt city can continue sending money to CalPERS. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California’s colleges are so money-hungry they’re screwing in-state students out of admissions so they can charge more to out-of-state applicants, including those who wouldn’t normally be able to get in. Sort of like the UT admissions scandal, but less politically connected and more widespread and money-grubbing… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • But there’s one type of student California admissions isn’t keeping out: antisemites. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Even the supposed beneficiaries of California’s high speed rail fantasy have become disillusioned with it.
  • A hot relocation to Texas rumor just in: “Plano – new home of Toyota Motor’s North American headquarters – has been mentioned as a possible relocation site for a Wichita-based subsidiary of conglomerate Cargill.”
  • Anson Chi Update

    Monday, May 11th, 2015

    Remember Plano pipeline bomber Anson Chi? Having already plead guilty (twice) for the attempted bombing, Chi, acting as his own attorney during the penalty phase of the trial, now claims his confession was tortured out of him.

    Given the overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence against him (like the fact he managed to do more damage to himself than the pipeline), I think that idea is exceptionally unlikely. I suspect that the gulf between Chi’s self assessment of his legal skills and his actual skills are as vast as those between his conception of himself as an eco-avenging terrorist and his actual skills therefore…

    Plano Bomber Anson Chi Pleads Guilty (Again)

    Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

    Remember Anson Chi, the Ron Paul/Occupy follower accused of trying to blow up a gas pipeline in Plano?

    Now he’s apparently plead guilty to charges he already plead guilty to before:

    Anson Chi, 35, pleaded guilty to two of the four counts he was facing at trial – the same two counts he pleaded guilty to during a hearing last year. The difference with this plea agreement is that the prison sentence is essentially open-ended. Chi will be able to argue issues related to sentencing and will have the opportunity to appeal in some cases. The sentence will be imposed by U.S. District Judge Richard Schell. No date has been set for sentencing.

    I’m not going to pretend to understand the legal reasoning behind the double guilty pleas to the same charges.

    “Chi represented himself at trial after firing his defense attorneys earlier this year.”

    That’s pretty much universally a wrong move, but the whole “trying to blow up a pipeline and only injuring yourself” does suggest he’s not the sharpest tine on the rake.

    Previous Anson Chi coverage here.

    Anson Chi Denied Bail (Plus Additional Information, Including His YouTube Videos)

    Sunday, July 8th, 2012

    Accused Plano bomber Anson Chi was denied bail at a hearing at which he testified on his own behalf. I don’t see anyone placing any sort of credibility on his claims that some of his wounds were due to being tortured by police while in the hospital. Various testimony adds a lot more to the “walking time-bomb” file:

    [FBI agent Brian] Carroll described Chi as “anti-government, anti-technology, anti-big business, pro-environmentalist (and) slightly anarchist.”

    “He said he was tired of armchair activists and wanted to have this in the bank to prove he was a real activist,” Carroll said.

    One wonder what sort of “activism” Chi thought he was displaying. Anti-gas-pipeline activism? I fail to see how blowing up a pipeline would fight the Federal Reserve, the IRS, or genetically modified food (all noted Chi concerns).

    Testifying for the defense, Chi’s parents said they were OK with him living at home if the judge agreed to release him and would notify police immediately if he broke any rules.

    But the testimony also seemed to backfire.

    His father, Swia Chenn Chi, said he often fought with his son and was so afraid of him he once called the police.

    “If we don’t agree, he usually goes wild,” the father testified. “I was so afraid he would take the gun and point it at me … I wished the police would (have taken) his gun away, but they never did.”

    The FBI said agents recovered two pistols and three shotguns from the family’s Plano house, in addition to bomb-making chemicals and hardware in a search hours after the explosion.

    Chi’s father said he was upset with his son because he hadn’t worked for several years.

    “He’s such a grown-up man,” Swia Chenn Chi said of his 33-year-old son. “He’s not handicapped but he doesn’t work so he makes me disappointed.”

    An adult refusing to look for a job fits the Occupy mold a lot more than your typical Ron Paul supporter. It also fits in with Chi’s posting the “Disappointed Asian Father” images on his Facebook page, like this one:

    It also ties into the themes in his novel.

    Anson Chi’s mother, Fai, testified her son had no real friends and added she had no idea what the chemicals were inside their home.

    “I didn’t know what he was doing,” Fai Chi said. “When I ask him questions, he says I’m nosy.”

    She said she thought the chemicals were ingredients for him to make soup.

    “I always thought he was baking and cooking,” she said.

    Asked if she ever saw him eat anything he baked, she said, “Last year he did eat a loaf of bread.”

    She also said her son would sometimes compare himself to Jesus.

    “He said, ‘Jesus cannot save the world. I can save the world,'” she said.

    Comparing yourself to Jesus is a pretty clear sign you’ve gone off the deep end.

    More information from The Dallas Morning News:

    In addition to the bomb-making materials and instructions, agents found three shotguns and two 40-caliber semi-automatic handguns at the Chi home. They found books on domestic terrorism and technological slavery. They also found $2,000 hidden in a spray can with a false bottom, as well as euros and Asian currency.

    Carroll detailed Chi’s extensive travel in recent years, including trips to Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Records show that Chi crossed into Mexico 20 times on foot and that he was denied entry into Canada last year, Carroll testified.

    More information continues to come out about Chi, including some information I was unable to locate between the time I figured out he was the likely bombing suspect and the time the Dallas media revealed who he was.

    Here’s Chi, in a video with badly synched audio:

    I’m not a big fan of the IRS, and as a fan of small government I have a bit of sympathy for tax protestors. But that sympathy is tempered by the fact that the theories by which they deduce the federal income tax is unconstitutional range from the almost certainly wrong to the completely ludicrous. And further evidence that they’re mistaken is the frequency with which they end up in prison.

    Chi also posted a copy of this well-known video depicting soccer fans overwhelming police over their excessive use of violence. I’m all for exposing and punishing police brutality, but when Chi comments “Watch the police (pigs) get what they deserve—oink!” once again he gives that Occupy-tainted whiff of throwback 1960s radicalism. Not everyone who called police pigs in the 1960s built bombs, but virtually 100% of the 1960s bomb builders (The Weatherman Underground, etc.) would be found among their ranks.

    He also links to a 9/11 Truther video, which does not speak well of his credulity.

    Austin Just Passed San Francisco (or California vs. Texas: Round 55)

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012

    Today brings news that Austin just surpassed San Francisco in population to become the 13th largest city in the country. In fact, Texas had six of the top seven fastest growing cities over the past 14 months: Round Rock, Austin, Plano, McKinney, Frisco, and Denton placed 2-7, topped only by a post-Katrina New Orleans. And at only 7,000-odd residents behind Jacksonville and Indianapolis, expect Austin to be the 11th largest city in the country the next time this list is updated.

    And that news gives me a great excuse to to another roundup of Texas vs. California!

  • “Texas has been doing very well. If you draw a triangle whose points are Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, enclosing Austin, you’ve just drawn a map of the economic and jobs engine of North America.”
  • “California may be dreaming, but Texas is working. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2000 to 2010, California lost a net of 519,600 jobs while Texas gained 1,093,600 jobs.” Lots of additional statistics here make the case for the measurable superiority of Texas’ Red State model over California’s Blue State model.
  • And they brought their incomes and assets with them. And there are plenty of reasons to move to Texas:

    Lest you think this is some kind of fluke, or that taxes are not the determining factor in this “escape from NY and California,” it isn’t just Texas that is gaining all these fleeing residents. The U.S. Census reported that all of the top 15 states for population growth during the past decade are no tax or low tax states like Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Utah, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. It seems Americans are smarter than politicians give them credit for- they are voting with their feet for lower taxes, pro business attitude, and more economic freedom.

    Because no state in the union has a better economy, let’s look “up close and personal” at the Texas miracle. Texas practices what I proudly call “Wild West Cowboy Capitalism.” And it works!

    Texas has zero state income tax, zero capital gains taxes, and zero death taxes. It is a “right to work” state where employees may choose to join a union, but are never forced to. It is pro business and anti-lawyer (discouraging class action lawsuits and the first state to pass a “Loser Pays” law). Texas is also tight-fisted with welfare and entitlement benefits- unlike New York and California. The result of this limited government attitude is people with high incomes, assets, and ambition are moving into Texas, while those who lack work ethic, and feel entitled to handouts are moving out. Good riddance.

    But the most important attribute of Texas is that its constitution limits the time that politicians can meet. The Texas Legislature is limited to meeting only 4 months every other year. That pretty much explains everything. Texas and my state of Nevada have no state income taxes and the fastest growing populations in America…not in spite of, but because the politicians aren’t allowed to sit in their seats all year long thinking of new ways to re-distribute income, impede business, and destroy jobs.

  • How red tape strangles job creation in California.
  • Tort reform has resulted in a 44% increase in the number of doctor’s in Texas since 2003, or twice the population increase.
  • Texas factory orders up in May.
  • California’s pension crisis continues to fester, and Democrats appear to be unwilling to grapple with the issue. (And here’s more on the pension bomb from Walter Russell Mead.)
  • Gary Farmer, head of the Austin Economic Development Corp. tells California audience exactly how Austin lures business from their state. “The key reason for the state’s success in luring business from other locations is a better political and regulatory climate, he added. Texas has a corporate tax of 1 percent on adjusted gross receipts, while California’s is 8.84 percent of income. Texas has no personal income tax while California’s is 9.3 percent.”
  • Finally, speaking of California transplants, In-and-Out Burger is headed to Round Rock.
  • Plano Bombing Suspect Anson Chi Wanted on Weapons Charge in California

    Thursday, June 21st, 2012

    According to this DSM story. The other material in that story should be familiar If you’ve been reading this blog.

    On reason I’ve kept on this story is that once I uncovered the Ron Paul connection, it was obvious the MSM would run with Chi as a “Right Wing Extremist.” Which is already happening in the comments for various stories. But, as I showed, it’s not that simple. Chi is also on record as supporting organic food and opposing religion, corporations and genetically modified food, all of which are hardly typical Ron Paul positions. I wanted to get the facts out there before the MSM clouded the issue.

    NEWSFLASH: FBI Confirms Anson Chi as Plano Bombing Suspect

    Thursday, June 21st, 2012

    “In a criminal complaint unsealed in federal court Wednesday, the FBI identified Anson Chi as the suspect accused of setting off a bomb while tampering with a gas main earlier this week.”

    But the MSM is only reporting what I concluded on Tuesday .

    More Plano Bombing Tidbits (Including Possible Motivation for Suspect Anson Chi)

    Thursday, June 21st, 2012

    For those just joining in, on Monday an explosion seriously injured a man near a gas pipeline in Plano. Police investigating the incident concluded that the man hadn’t been hit by a car (as he claimed) but that an explosive device had detonated (possibly early) near a gas pipeline. The police bomb squad also disposed of a device taken from the suspect’s house. Using information in the various news stories and public records, I deduced that an Anson Chi was the likely suspect. Today I posted some background on Chi, in that he seems to be both a Ron Paul supporter, and an opponent of religion, corporations, and genetically modified food.

    Now, the latest news: The FBI was back at the suspect’s home today, carrying out another search.

    I’ve been skimming through Chi’s novel (actually, based on length, more of a novella) Yellow on the Outside, Shame on the Inside: Asian Culture Revealed, which you can download for free. As you might deduce from the title, it’s largely about the pressures of being expected to succeed as an Asian in America.

    Take the opening on the first page for example:

    Doctor or lawyer—my only two options. These would be your only two options if you have Asian parents. You would think that you would be able to pick your own career, since you know, it is your own damn life. But not when you have Asian parents. So my only two options: doctor or lawyer.

    It’s partially a first person Roman a clef about growing up Asian, partially an indictment of The Way We Live now, partially rants about status, privilege, and what the protagonist (and presumably the author) sees as a lack of moral compass among Asians. Here’s an example:

    I hate grocery shopping by myself, especially when my parents make me come here to Culver Plaza, the Chinatown of Irvine and ergo Orange County. It’s always crowded with Asian people of course, all looking for a wide selection of cheap Asian goods. Now when I say cheap, I don’t mean just the price; I also mean the quality. Many people are aware of lead toys manufactured in China, but not many are aware of cadmium-laden kitchenware, which has been linked to birth defects and cancer; or chopped up pieces of bleached cardboard in frozen wontons; or contaminated, toxic pet food that has killed a copious number of animals here in the United States; or milk and baby formula laced with melamine, a banned industrial chemical, the same chemical used in the contaminated, toxic pet food; or the extreme levels of formaldehyde normally for embalming dead bodies used in clothing, and unbelievably, also in noodles, which prompted the shutdown of one of the biggest noodle manufacturers in China. Not to mention the complete violation of human rights and the advocacy of slave labor, but of course, Asians don’t care because it’s always about the money, so ethical and moral values go out the window.

    The story concludes when the protagonist and a fellow Asian student friend prepare to commit suicide because they scored too low on the MCAT.

    Not exactly the feel-good book of the year.

    It’s a stark contrast with Chi’s generally cheerful Facebook page, though the same sense of irony can be found in each.

    He even puts in supplemental material at the end of the book, just in case you didn’t get the message:

    Question: Why would you write a book that’s not true?

    My Answer: This book is a didactic novel, aka literary fiction. But I know what you mean. I wrote this book based on my cognizance and on the lives of others, including my own life. There are people who wouldn’t agree with what I say just like I wouldn’t agree with what they say. Life goes on…

    Question: Why did you write this book?

    My Answer: The suicide rate for Asian Americans is astronomically higher than Caucasians, African Americans, and Latin Americans. In fact, Asian Americans have the highest suicide rate among women. Moreover, two million women attempt suicide in China every year, with many more not counted due to saving face. This needs to change, and I believe my book is conducive as a start for that change. I see too many Asian children indoctrinated and conditioned like overachieving robots, here in the United States and in Asia. This won’t stop until we all work together, as I have luminously delineated in the last chapter (Détente) of my book.

    We will refrain from critiquing the literary value of the novel, or the author calling his own work “luminous,” and note that this, combined with his disenchantment with the current state of politics (and possible job issues, since his resume doesn’t list any paying employer since 2006, unless he was on the Ron Paul payroll in 2008), may start to provide possible motivation for his actions.

    Let’s just say he seems to have some issues.