Hey, Big Spender
To the editor:
To the editor:
William Voegeli responds:
Chris from Wilmington is partly right. According to the Census Bureau, the median income for households of all sizes for 200608 was $57,988 in California, which is $11,135 more than the Texas median of $46,853. In 2007, Californias per-capita revenues from all taxes and current chargesbus fares, trash fees, public university tuition, etc.were $6,134. In Texas, they were $4,447. Thats a difference of $1,687 per person, or $6,748 for a family of four. In 2008, the median income for a family of four was $79,477 in California and $66,381 in Texasa difference of $13,096.
This sounds like quite a deal to Chrisafter all, the California family does still have more money to spend, even after all the charges. Its all the more puzzling, then, that Texass population grew twice as fast as the rest of the countrys between 1992 and 2007 (before the current recession started), while Californias grew at the same rate as the rest of the countrys, despite an enormous influx of immigrants, legal and illegal. My article put forward one possible explanation: Californias quality of life, of which the quality of public services is a large part, has declined so much that large and growing numbers of families are happy to forgo the states income premium in order to live outside it. A second, compatible, explanation is that whats left of the California income premium after taxes and fees is absorbed by higher housing costs, owing to the artificial scarcity created by Californias land-use regulations, which economist Edward Glaeser describes as among the most restrictive in the country.