House + Home

published : 2023-10-26

California Families Attribute Move to Red States to Leftist Policies and Taxes

Massive regulation, high taxes, limited school choice, and rising crime fuel the exodus

California skyline at sunset, taken with a Canon EOS R

California has experienced a significant population decline in recent years, with over half a million people leaving the state between January 2020 and July 2022.

Families who have made the move to red states cite a combination of factors, including excessive governmental regulation, skyrocketing taxes, limited school choice, and escalating crime rates.

Terry Gilliam, a California resident since 1986, recalls how the state's increasingly left-leaning politics pushed him towards considering a departure.

He explains, 'California's response to any problem is to raise taxes. This led to less take-home pay and a dwindling middle class.'

In response to these concerns, Gilliam founded the 'Leaving California' Facebook group in 2018, which boasts nearly 300,000 members today.

The group experienced its most significant growth in January 2022, coinciding with discussions about a proposal to double taxes and implement socialized medicine in the state.

While the bill remains on hold, California is once again considering its implementation.

An analysis of IRS migration data conducted by reveals that California lost over $340 million in IRS tax revenue in 2021 due to out-migration.

From January 2020 to July 2022, the state saw an exodus of over half a million residents, surpassing the number of individuals moving in by approximately 700,000.

Craig Blessing, one of the families who left California, cites the COVID-19 pandemic as a catalyst for their decision.

A family happily settling into their new home in Winter Springs, Florida, taken with a Nikon Z6

Mask mandates in schools and concerns about the vaccine pushed them to seek a new home, where they believe it would be more suitable to raise their children.

Blessing and his family now reside in Winter Springs, Florida, where they enjoy lower taxes and a greater sense of community.

He highlights the stark contrast in state taxes, emphasizing that in California, their family paid $67,000 per year, compared to zero in Florida.

Another appealing aspect of their move was the freedom to choose their children's school, something they found lacking in California.

Dan and Alisha Kelly, former San Diego residents, also felt compelled to leave due to rising taxes, increasing crime rates, and declining school quality.

They eventually settled in Temecula, California, but the COVID-19 pandemic motivated them to search for a new location in a 'freedom state'.

They ultimately chose Greenville, South Carolina, where their children have access to quality education and a safe neighborhood.

The Kellys express their gratitude for the warm and welcoming community they have found, as well as the ability to interact face-to-face with others.

Alisha acknowledges the natural beauty of California but regrets the state's direction and the prioritization of rights for criminals and the homeless over taxpayers.

Ethan Lanagan, a successful real estate businessman, made the decision to leave California before the pandemic to provide a better life for his twin boys.

Children playing in a vibrant schoolyard in Greenville, South Carolina, taken with a Sony A7 III

He desired a place where they could experience nature, community pools, public parks, and top-rated schools.

The Lanagan family eventually settled in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, attracted by a lower cost of living and less government regulation.

Their move was also driven by a desire to have control over their own and their children's health-related decisions.

Lanagan highlights the importance of seeking freedom and exploring different places throughout the United States.

He advises others to take a 'leap of faith' and find a location that aligns with their values and offers a higher quality of life.

In conclusion, California's exodus continues as families seek solace in red states that offer lower taxes, affordable housing, safer environments, and a sense of freedom.

The state's burdensome regulations, high taxes, limited school choices, and rising crime rates have all contributed to this mass migration.

Individuals like Terry Gilliam, Craig Blessing, and Dan and Alisha Kelly have taken the leap, finding new communities that align with their principles and priorities.

Their stories serve as a testament to the allure of freedom and the pursuit of a better life outside the confines of California.