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Goodbye, California!

Updated on December 23, 2017
Carolyn M Fields profile image

Carolyn Fields is a lifelong learner, musician, author, world traveler, truth enthusiast, and all-around bon vivant.


It Has Been a Good Run

I was born in California, and I’ve lived here my entire life (almost 6 decades). Up until recently, that is. I just can’t stand it any longer. Yes, the weather is glorious (who wouldn’t appreciate 72 degrees with a blue sky and white puffy clouds on New Year’s Day?). And, of course, I know the area like the back of my hand. I know, for example, where the “Inland Empire” is, and at least a half dozen ways to get there without looking at a map (involving the 210, 10, 60, 215, 15, or 91 freeways).

Sure I have family and friends here, but truth be told I rarely leave the house to visit them anymore. It’s just too much trouble to navigate the crowded freeways with rude, unskilled drivers and ever present road construction. In recent months I have been trying to “get together” with a couple friends of mine, face-to-face. We always start out with “let’s set a date,” and then various obstacles get in our way. It’s just logistically untenable.

There are also lots of “places to see” and “things to do,” but again, I don’t like to leave the house. Yes, the beach is nice, but I’m really not much of a “beach person.” Even when I lived in Playa del Rey (walking distance to the beach), I rarely went to the beach. After moving inland, it would require a long drive, trying to find a place to park, and fighting with thousands of other sun worshippers just for a tiny spot on the sand. Not worth it. Same goes for most “amusements” available in Southern California. Most involve over-crowding, lack of adequate parking, and the requirement of facing hours in heavy traffic to get there.


If you are extremely wealthy, you will be throwing your money away living in California, as the government will try to bleed you dry. More than 60% of a Californian’s income goes to some form of taxes. California taxes or has a fee for everything, and I mean everything! From gasoline, food, water, auto tags, smog checks, luxury taxes, etc., everything is one tax after another.

California has a total states sales and use tax base of 7.5%, however, depending on local municipalities, the total tax rate can be as high as 10%. That’s 10% tagged on to everything you buy. Not to mention that the 2015 tax rates compiled by the Federation of Tax Administrators ranks California as the top taxer with a 12.3 percent rate, unless you make more than $1 million and have to pay 13.3 percent. Now, with the new tax legislation, you will no longer be able to deduct some state and local taxes. It just keeps getting worse.


Now let’s talk housing. California housing prices are out of control. You could easily spend $650,000 for a small 2 bedroom house. Try finding a house that costs less than $500,000 and you will likely be looking at trailer parks. Also, homeowners have an even higher tax burden because the property taxes are based on the absurdly high house prices.

Renting is not any better, with nice areas staring at $2,000 a month for a small two bedroom. That’s for starters. Then look for rent to go up $100 to $200 every single year. Tag on some of the highest electricity costs in the country (the average residential electricity rate of 15.34¢/kWh in CA is 29.12% greater than the national average residential rate of 11.88¢/kWh.) and even renting is unaffordable for most people. Unless, of course, you are on government assistance. Back to that in a moment.

Illegal Immigration

Yes, the word is “illegal,” not “undocumented.” The illegal immigration population is exploding with a massive influx of 500,000 illegal immigrants per year and 1.1 million foreign children born in the US to these illegal aliens. If you don’t live in California, it’s probably difficult to imagine groups of men standing around by the grocery or hardware store, waiting for “day labor” jobs, or people selling out of food carts like some third world country. But it happens in California every single day.

And remember that only the law abiding citizens will be footing the bill, since illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes. The cost to U.S. taxpayers is over $25 billion dollars a year. Legal taxpayers subsidize their welfare food stamps, section 8 housing, and even spending money so the illegal immigrant population of 10 million illegals can all live for free which the legal citizens slave away and give more than half their income to the state and federal government.

Insanely Overcrowded Roads

There has always been “rush hour” in Southern California. It used to be from around 6 AM to 9 AM, and then again from 3 PM to 6 PM. Now it’s nearly constant. If you are lucky, there might be a “window” from 11 AM to 1 PM, but that is subject to construction and accident delays. Now that illegals have driver’s licenses in California, the gridlock and constant congestion are only intensified. Add to that poor driving skills, and ridiculous habits, such as talking on cell phones (even though that’s illegal). You can almost count on a five to 10 second delay when the traffic light changes from red to green, before the driver in front finishes their text, and starts back up. And yes, it drives me up a wall.

While we’re on the topic of transportation, don’t forget the smog check you must have on your car, higher than average car registration fees, and higher than average car insurance. Add to that the fact that gasoline can cost as much as $1 more per gallon than elsewhere in the USA.

Fees, Fees, and More Fees

If it isn’t a tax, then it’s called a fee. Same difference. And California has a lot of them. Here are only a few examples (not a comprehensive list):

  • CRV. California Refund Value (CRV) for every plastic bottle – 5 cents for each container under 24 ounces and 10 cents for each container 24 ounces or greater.
  • Lumber. On Jan. 1, 2013 the state started to require buyers of lumber and "engineered" wood products to pay a 1% assessment on the price of such building materials. Retailers and contractors will be required to collect the fee from customers and pass the money, estimated to raise $35 million in the 2013-14 fiscal year, to the California Board of Equalization.
  • Paint. Under California law, paint retailers collect a recovery fee of 35 cents for every container of paint that is between half a pint and 1 gallon, 75 cents for 1-gallon paints and $1.60 for paints sold in quantities between 1 and 5 gallons.
  • SAFE ($1/$3 for CVRA). Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies fees are used to install/maintain freeway emergency call boxes.
  • Air quality ($2–$19). Fees are set by each air quality management district and used to reduce air pollution, plan, monitor, enforce, and conduct studies.
  • Auto theft deterrence/DUI ($1/$4). Provides theft prevention education and enforcement of antitheft and driving under the influence (DUI) programs.
  • Abandoned vehicle abatement ($1 for CVRA). Removes and disposes of abandoned vehicles.
  • Fingerprint ID ($1/$3 for CVRA). Funds local fingerprint identification (ID) programs.
  • County transportation project fee (CTPF) ($10). Funds transportation projects/programs.

The Most Restrictive Laws and Regulations

The gun laws of California are some of the most restrictive in the United States. So, you want to buy something for your gun – say a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds. Not in California. The state of California defines a large capacity magazine as “any ammunition feeding device with a capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.”

What about a walking stick with a concealed sword. Most states consider the sword cane as a concealed weapon. So being caught using one, even if you do need a walking stick, will land you a hefty fine or even some jail time. There are state laws that prohibit carrying the same or even owning the same. Case in point is California.

Those are just two very specific examples from my personal experience. I could go on, but I would depress myself further. And new restrictions are being added almost daily.

Public Education

Public education in California is nothing short of horrible. California has the 9th worst school system in the nation, thanks in part to low reading and math test results, a high dropout rate, and an abysmal score (worst in the nation) for the high number of pupils per teachers in our classrooms. Also, the state ranked 49 of 51 for safety, making it the 3rd worst, ahead of Indiana (50) and Washington, D.C. (51). People with the means to do so send their children to private school.

Even private school is not a safe haven any more. SB 1146 has already passed the California Senate and is being considered by the Higher Education and Judiciary Committees of the California Assembly. This bill would limit freedom of religious faith and practice to activities narrowly intended to train pastors and similar vocational church leaders. This means that religious freedom would apply only to the seminary and to undergraduate programs such as Bible and Christian ministry.

Liberal Ideology

Liberal groupthinks such as Hollywood personalities, the ACLU, and Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered/Queer associations rule the roost in California. If you have a conservative viewpoint, your voice will be drowned out. The voters (the people, that is), voted in a ban on homosexual marriage, only to have it overturned by a liberal court. The ultra-liberal government in Sacramento has gone insane. And there is little chance they will change any time soon.


California is the 48th worst state in the union for business (New York and Hawaii are the last two). There continues to be a mass exodus of small businesses to other states, such as Texas and Washington, where small businesses have a fighting chance of succeeding, without being strangled by rules, regulations, and fees.

It may seem like a small thing, but did you know that you can’t go into an auto parts store in California, and have your code read to find out what you need? You can do it virtually everywhere else. Just another restriction.

Crime and Unemployment

Violent crime and gang activity is everywhere. People don’t want to leave their homes at night. Even that doesn’t work sometimes, with small children being killed inside their homes by “stray” bullets from drive-by shootings. Add to that the “sanctuary” cities, where illegals (even violent ones) are not picked up by police, and you have recipe for daily bloodbaths.

As for jobs, in some areas of California, the level of unemployment is absolutely nightmarish. For example, 24.3 percent of the residents of El Centro, California are now unemployed. Worse, this does not represent the real and unpublished unemployment rate, which is as high as 50% in some areas.


It’s not really funny, but I once heard a comedian do a routine about his California friend, who was supposed to take him to the hospital for surgery. The day arrived, but the friend didn’t show. He took a taxi to the hospital, and later asked his friend what had happened. All the friend said was, “sorry, I flaked.”

Yes, that is all. I flaked. To be sure, California doesn’t have a monopoly on flakiness. But they sure do take it to a new level. And it doesn’t just hurt interpersonal relationships. It hurts business as well, because buyers and sellers alike will flake on you at a moment’s notice. You have been warned.

Plastic Bags

California has now banned carry-out plastic bags statewide. It took place immediately after Election Day, catching many consumers off guard. You now will have to pay 10 cents per bag, or bring your own.

Okay, I agree that people are pigs, and too many plastic bags end up as litter. However, when you look more closely at the science behind it, paper bags actually have a larger carbon footprint to produce and transport. So, it's just another way to charge the consumer. Also, those 10 cent bags are still going to end up as litter. So what has California really accomplished?

Other Points of View

Do you think I'm being unfair and overly critical? Well, my article pales in comparison to what others have said on the topic.

One case in point:

Oh, the hypocrisy of it all.


So, goodbye California. Nice to know you. I may come back and visit, but I won’t live there anymore. It was a good run, as I said. Fortunately, with technology the way it is today, I will be in just as close contact with friends and family as I have been. And I’ve gotten out before “the big one” comes (earthquake, that is).

I will end with one of my favorite sayings about working in Los Angeles. What is the best view of downtown Los Angeles? In the rearview mirror!

What do you think about living in California?

See results


Submit a Comment
  • jackclee lm profile image

    Jack Lee 

    4 years ago from Yorktown NY

    Thanks for the warning and insight. Perhaps your views is more relevant to the LA area. Where my daughter lives in Irvine, about 30 miles south of LA, it is actually pretty nice here. I can't speak for the rest of the state. Comparing taxes, where I come from in Westchester NY, we have the highest taxes in the nation. The regulations does bother me. However, I have relatives that live in Seattle and they are just insane over there. Eveything is relative...

  • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

    Banned cause of PISSANTS Promisem and Dean Traylor 

    4 years ago

    Carolyn, excellent hub page and analysis! Your point that more people are leaving than ever before in the history of the state for the reasons you listed is well taken by anyone who is not just interested in deflecting from the truths you've shared and basically making a comment totally unrelated to anything you've said, but then that is exactly what we would expect from the looney left.

    Three cheers for Wyoming!

  • bradmasterOCcal profile image


    4 years ago

    Carolyn, Excellent and very realistic truth about California.

    You make very good points about the contrast between the weather, and living here in CA. Every year, after the New Year's day parade, I imagine that there is a rush to U Haul place to get a rental so that those people in the brutal cold and nasty weather places can move to CA.

    Yes, CA is the most populous state in the US, but size is not a benefit. As you have pointed out, the congestion, the crime, the welfare, the free education, free medical, and horrendous taxes are also the highest in the US.

    There are millions of Illegals Aliens in the state. And many of these illegals are spending their days and nights in the many jails and prisons in CA. Then, when they finish their sentences, many cities, like Los Angeles will protect them from being deported. How does that make people feel safe. And is that a valid reason why we are paying the highest taxes in the US

    Not only are these convicted illegals endangering public safety, they also aren't paying taxes, and most likely they are receiving welfare. Remember, thanks to Gov Brown and the Democrat state congress, illegals and anyone else can now get CA driver licenses.

    Illegals are cloaked with defacto US citizenship. Where else in the world would a foreigner get the benefits of citizenship? You don't want to go to Mexico to find out. And ironically, they prevent their southern neighbors into their country. They do allow their s neighbors a 30 day visa to make it to and across the US southern border. This brings in some very dangerous gangs into the US.

    In Los Angeles, we have seen Illegals protest in our streets, burning the US Flag, while flying the Mexican Flag.

    So being the most populous state is definitely not something to boast about. As you pointed out CA fails in education, and protecting its citizens against the also largest group of criminals in the country.

    CA is a welfare state, and it has been for many decades. The people that pay the high CA taxes are paying for those people that don't pay taxes, and may also get welfare and other freebies like public education, and free medical care at CA hospitals.


    Currently, Gov Brown is trying to increase our gasoline tax by another twelve cents. This will have the most impact on the poor that have minimum wage jobs that need their car to get to work. Yet, there is no outcry of that, why, because it is a democrat that is doing it.

    While the CA population has doubled since the 80s, CA has done little to nothing to keep us with the increase in resources needed by this huge population. They have been too busy giving our tax money to welfare, and illegal aliens. If we strip away the illegals from our hospitals, and public education we could significantly reduce our taxes, or better yet, apply them to the democrat woefully neglected infrastructure.

    Even with the continuous increase of the population in CA, the democrat controlled government did nothing to provide WATER for their needs.

    They spent literally nothing to ensure a supply of water, and that was after we lost a big source of our water from the Colorado River.

    When CA politicians tell us to conserve our resources like Water and we do it, they then tax us for their loss of revenue. Because we weren't using enough water for them to make their margin of profit.

    What poor person wouldn't want to come to California, it is their version of Heaven on Earth. But the people that pay the taxes, and the businesses that employ people have been doing an Exodus for several decades to states like Texas where their business is appreciated, as opposed to CA taxing and regulating them into bankruptcy.

    The poor along with illegals make a sizeable voting pool to raise taxes and increase regulations. This is because it doesn't impact them. So they can outvote the people that pay the most taxes in the state, and make those people pay for their well being.

    Health Insurance is not the same as health care, and most people that have Obamacare can only afford it by electing to have very high, and in many cases catastrophic deductibles.

    A taxpayer and an illegal go to the Emergency Ward of a California hospital. They both get treated, but only one of them has to have insurance. And only one of them will have to pay for the medical services. Which one is it?

    As you mentioned, CA has one of the strongest gun control laws in the land. Yet, that doesn't stop the use of guns by criminals, and it is not usually the honest CA tax paying citizen that is using guns for crime. There is a significant presence of criminal gangs in CA, WA and OR. The jails and prisons are so full, that judges have forced the government to early release tens of thousands of these convicted criminals.

    People come to CA in droves, but so many of them don't contribute to paying the high taxes, and they aren't affected by taxes, as they are getting freebies. These freebies are being paid by less and less people. So CA government continually has to raise taxes. But these taxes don't go to the infrastructure, they go to pay for the millions of free loaders.

    During the height of the water shortage in CA. Los Angeles had many water mains rupture sending large amounts of precious water into the streets. The reason is that these water mains like many of the utilities have now been replaced, or augmented for over fifty years.

    There is no chance with the overwhelming voters not paying taxes, that the CA government will ever change from Democrats. These democrats controlled state government are making CA into a third world country.

  • Deborah Demander profile image

    Deborah Reno 

    4 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

    THANK YOU for reminding me why I love Wyoming! Awesome article. So glad not to be in the middle of chaos. Thanks for writing


  • bradmasterOCcal profile image


    5 years ago

    I wouldn't move to Texas for any number of reasons. Orange County is not Hollyweird. I wouldn't live in LA County even.

    The market in CA is more than just senior citizens, and that is why young adults are still living with their parents till they are 34. The young adults can't afford healthcare so that is why Obamacare keeps them on till they are 26.

    With 46 million people in the US on food stamps, it tells you how bad is the economy.

    The prices across most of the country for real estate is lower than in CA, so apply property numbers to that. Don't use percentages.

    Texas doesn't have state income tax. I do like the concealed carry which is legal for non criminals. The criminals already carry concealed weapons and use them. Most lawful citizens only use them when forced to do so.

    Along with those permits come safety tests and investigations.

    For lawful gun owners 99.9% of them, it doesn't matter what type of weapons they have because they wouldn't use them for criminal purposes. While criminals would use a butter knife or car or truck to kill people. Maybe even an Ax on a crowded train.

    Proving that it is the person and not the weapon that needs to be sorted out.

    California should be broken up into four states, but unfortunately Los Angeles would still be in my part of the state.

    The state is too diverse and too populated to be run with one state government.

    I grew up in the lower east side of Manhattan, and I have lived in both northern and southern CA. The two biggest democrat controlled states in the country. NYC is run by the democrats and the unions. I don't know who runs LA.

    But both are examples of poor government.

    If I were going to move, I would probably pick either Dubai, or South Korea.

    I don't like their politics either ,but I like what they are doing and living in the 21st Century. Both of these countries have eclipsed the US for 21st Century living.

    I do like England, but I wouldn't move there unless I get a lordship. lol.

  • Carolyn M Fields profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Fields 

    5 years ago from South Dakota, USA

    I'm not moving to Texas. Also, with regard to property taxes: 1% of $500,000 is $5,000 property taxes. The rate may be capped, but the insane property "values" pushes it up. I can buy a house with LAND for $120,000 in another state, pay 1.43% in property taxes, which is only $1,716 per year.

  • Alternative Prime profile image

    Alternative Prime 

    5 years ago from > California

    lol ~ in my opinion, "bradmaster" doesn't really live here in CALIFONIA, but if he does which I doubt, maybe U can bring him with you Carolyn? ~ :) ~ Hopefully he'll END Up in an "Open CARRY" State like TEXAS where he'd be CONTENT because we all know the ONLY way to ENSURE SAFETY is to ARM ALL Private Residents with Military RIFLEs ~ :)

    Property TAXES? California has a Proposition which "Caps" Property TAXES & Senior Citizens get a BREAK ~ Don't Move to Texas if you're WORRIED about Property Taxes because the rate is approx. 2% to 4% while Market Values are SLOW to Rise ~ I've studied the RE Market in that region and in some scenarios, Property TAXES in Texas are Higher than the Actual MORTGAGE ~ Just the FACTs ~

  • Carolyn M Fields profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Fields 

    5 years ago from South Dakota, USA

    Thanks, Brad.

  • bradmasterOCcal profile image


    5 years ago


    Notwithstanding what I commented to you in my hub, I totally agree with your hub.

  • Carolyn M Fields profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Fields 

    5 years ago from South Dakota, USA

    Thank you, Lady, for stopping by. Yes . . . it is sad. I've lived here my entire life. I did not make the decision to leave lightly.

  • ladyguitarpicker profile image

    stella vadakin 

    5 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

    That is sad people are leaving California, but the cost is just too high. My friend just left because of her retirement, it is hard to pay the property tax. I think they like people to work until they did today. I can't believe the Illegals have drivers licenses. It's a messed up world. I'll stay where I am.

  • Carolyn M Fields profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Fields 

    5 years ago from South Dakota, USA

    Alternative Prime - Yes, California is still the most populous state in the USA. It's still a temperate state, with many beautiful areas. My point is that more people are leaving than ever before in the history of the state, for the reasons listed. Here is a recent news article on the topic:

  • Alternative Prime profile image

    Alternative Prime 

    5 years ago from > California

    California is the most POPULOUS State in America for Very Good Reason ~ California's Population has Approximately TRIPLED in Roughly the last 50 YEARs ~ The Growth Rate over the last 15 YEARs is Approx 13% ~ Freeways are usually Jammed, Land is Gobbled Up by Investors, Population & Commuter Congestion does indeed Exist in some Regions, ObamaCare is AVAILIBLE & Funded Here which means health-Care is EASILY Acquired, We are NOT an "OPEN Carry" State and it's much more DIFFICULT to Purchase a "Military Style" Firearm here for Safety Reasons, Minimum Wage Has benn INCREASED to 15$ Per Hr and will be EXPANDED throughout the ENTIRE State, and there's a VERY GOOD Reason for all of the ABOVE ~ MORE People Choose to LIVE Here in a PROGRESSIVE Modernized State Versus just about anywhere else not only in the country, but the WORLD ~ Weather, Employment, Entertainment, Amenities, Medical Facilities, Beaches, Mountains, Deserts etc etc.....The LIST Goes on......


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