Being a Southern California native makes me a somewhat rare creature. Being third generation even more so. In 2004 I decided I had enough of California’s “socialistic ways” that are paid for by the “weather tax” and moved to Texas. Just five short years later I was back. The question I get asked by most people who have never lived in California is “Is the weather tax worth it?”.
The joke about the weather tax for those of you who haven’t been here is about the high price of real estate and the high cost of living due to the combined tax burden. It is just easier to sum it all up as the “weather tax”. Yes California has prop 13. About the only reasonable tax law on the books, thank you Howard Jarvis. Sadly, we also have one of the biggest governments on a per capita basis and are in the top ten for state tax burdens when you add our very high fuel tax, sales tax, and personal income tax. Yes Texas, the government here is into everything, and it is hard to get them out.
Working, buying or driving, you are getting taxed. Renters don’t think they pay property taxes, but yes they do, it is just built into the rent. I agree with the argument that California gives away way too much, and cities like LA and SF with large homeless populations prove the plan doesn’t work. I also believe if I don’t live here to vote, I have no say in the outcome do I?
One of my friends has moved to Montana and has nothing good to say about California. If you listened to him, you would think that you come here to work all day to pay for ten other people to do nothing while the government controls your life. Maybe he is right.
Arnold tried to change it and failed and now Jerry Brown is back at it. It is strange to me that he got elected to be the governor twice and with each trip he takes to Sacramento, the weather tax goes up. Doesn’t anyone else care? I am too busy at the beach to run for office myself, but I don’t know what anyone else’s excuse is.
So is it worth it?
Texas is the only other state I have lived in where the military didn’t provide my house, so admittedly my experience is limited. In Texas, yes I had a much larger house, but I needed it to hide from the heat. In Texas I had a much larger yard, but I needed it to keep my dogs busy, we didn’t have sidewalks or a dog beach. In Texas I had a very cool pool, and yes, I needed it to keep cool. In Texas I also had five different air conditioning systems to keep the house cool. Paying the bills for all that air conditioning is what I called the Texas weather tax. In California, I have none, and my 30 year old heater still works fine because it is so rarely used.
As far as the people go, I really didn’t see that much of a difference. I met people I count as great friends in Texas, and I had great neighbors. There is nothing like a hurricane or two to bring you together. That said, in California, this is November, and it was 78 degrees yesterday a the beach.
There is nothing like a warm November afternoon to bring neighbors together either. Yesterday in Texas I would have put in an hour or two at the gym. In California I put in two hours of bike riding along the beach bike path.
Last week in Texas my friends and I would have gone to Kemah Boardwalk, instead we went to Catalina Island. Both places offer a lot, in fact a few things no other states can offer. Both have great beaches and rolling hills, Florida has the beach, no hills. Alabama and Mississippi, not so much beach to share. The eastern seaboard states all have some great coastal areas, but my friends there own snowblowers. In California, those are only owned by the few high altitude ski cabin people. In Texas, I don’t even know if you could buy one.
So is the weather tax worth it?
I don’t know, It is 74 degrees and sunny at 7:11 am on November 14th. I think I’ll go for a walk along the beach and think about it a little more.
What do you think.