Americans are continuing to flee California in droves for states that offer lower taxes, more affordable housing, better safety and a greater sense of freedom. Terry Gilliam moved to California in 1986. He soon fell in love with the Bay Area, often taking scenic trips across the 17-mile strip near Pebble Beach. He was always unhappy with the state's politics, and over time, he saw California move further and further left. "California's answer to any problem is to raise taxes. And so, I saw less paycheck. I saw the middle class disappearing," he said. In 2018, Gilliam started the Facebook group "Leaving California" after realizing he wasn't the only person concerned about the state's political and social climate. Today, "Leaving California" and its sister page "Life After California" boasts almost 300,000 combined members. NEW YORK, CALIFORNIA EXODUS CONTINUES, BUT 'CATASTROPHIC EFFECT' OF BIDEN ECONOMY MAY BE ON THE WAY: EXPERTS The groups saw their most significant growth in January 2022 when discussing a proposal to double taxes and provide socialized medicine to residents. Each day that month, the group added between 500 and 1,000 new members per day. While the bill currently sits on ice, the state is now looking into it again. MyEListing.com, an online real estate portal, conducted a study of IRS migration data and found that California lost more than $340 million in 2021 IRS tax revenue due to residents moving. From January 2020 to July 2022, the state lost well over half a million people, with the number of residents leaving surpassing those moving in by almost 700,000. Like many other residents, Craig Blessing finally made arrangements to move out of the state during the COVID-19 pandemic. Blessing had long considered that California was nonoptimal to raise children, but mask mandates for schools and his wife's adverse reaction to the vaccine pushed them over the edge. CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS STEP UP SEARCH FOR MORE AFFORDABLE HOMES OUTSIDE THE STATE, STUDY FINDS "The Newsom recall effort failed. Then, the Gascón district attorney recall didn't gain any traction. So, it was one of those things where we're we said, 'Okay, we're around people that don't align with us politically. So, it's like, well, you know, we can't change them, so it's time for us to leave,'" Blessing added. He and his family currently live in Winter Springs, Florida, right down the street from Gilliam. Blessing said the difference from California has been "night and day." In California, the family paid $67,000 in state taxes alone. In Florida, that number has dropped to 0. Blessings also highlighted the freedom of choice when it comes to school in Florida and a better sense of community for the family. 'Within a couple of months, we got invited to a church that we're now members of. Our kids landed in some great schools. They got great friends. It's just, everybody's friendly, you know," he said. "We get people who come by and just wave at you all the time. It's a different environment completely." Gilliam, who grew up in Florida, said he was happy to be back in the state and enjoy the livelier atmosphere. HOMELESSNESS HAS ‘EXPLODED’ IN THIS CALIFORNIA CITY, MAKING IT THE ‘LAND OF MILK AND FENTANYL,’ ACTIVIST SAYS "I lived in my neighborhood in the East Bay for 20 years in the same house. I knew everybody on my cul-de-sac. But when I walk my dogs every day, people just look away when they come up to you. They don't want to say hi to you. They don't want to talk to you," he said. "Around here. You can't walk by somebody who won't say hi because everybody's nice and friendly and their quality of life is great." Dan and Alisha Kelly lived in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego for four years. As the taxes and prices climbed, they packed up and moved into a house in Temecula, California. "We owned that house for almost 12 years. Over time, we just saw the whole area kind of change. And obviously, some good things were changing, but a lot of bad things. Crime was getting worse. Homelessness was getting worse, the schools were changing," Dan said. Once COVID hit, the family decided to create a list and narrowed it down to what they described as "freedom states," areas that align better with their personal beliefs and political views. CALIFORNIA EXODUS: REMOTE WORKERS MOVE TO MEXICO DUE TO SKY-HIGH GAS AND HOUSING COSTS "I grew up in the suburbs, but we have had plenty family who had country land and just freedom and just being able to do what you want to an extent, you know, not being bogged down by all the rules and regulations that are in California," Dan added. The family eventually moved to Greenville, South Carolina and instantly fell in love with the location. They currently live in a neighborhood with 12 police officers where they feel safe and put their two kids in one of the top school districts in the state, which is 100% in-person. "My daughter and my son had great teachers in California, but it was online," Alisha said. "Like one night, she had soccer and he took our son over to the playground and he recognized a little girl that he had only ever seen online from his classroom. I guess when they said goodbye, she hugged him so hard that she knocked him over and it was like, this is what they're missing. They're missing this like contact and being able to interact face to face." Alisha said she had loved the natural beauty found in California but, over time, realized the direction the state was going in. HIGH-TAX STATE EXODUS ACCELERATES AS MORE AMERICANS FLEE TO FLORIDA, TEXAS "If you're a criminal or homeless, you're going to have more rights than the taxpayer. And now you have the whole issue with the border. It's just I mean, I've watched videos where there's vessels of people. They're just dropping off in even Ocean Beach. And it's like these people, what are they going to do? They don't know what to do," she added. Ethan Lanagan left California and upended his successful real estate business before the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision, he said, was not driven primarily by financials but rather by a better life for his two twin boys, who were three at the time. "We wanted to raise them in, you know, creeks and nature and community pools and public parks and the top-rated schools in the state. Even though we ended up becoming a homeschool family, those were all kind of big motivations instead of the concrete jungle," he said. "And, you know, we lived in Orange County, California, where the median house price is over $1,000,000 and the local schools were three out of ten. So, it just didn't make a whole lot of sense to try to raise a family there." ‘I NO LONGER CONSIDER MYSELF A CALIFORNIAN’: TEXAS COUPLE PRAISES NEW FREEDOMS AFTER LIFE-CHANGING MOVE The family eventually chose the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, as their new home base. The area has seen many new residents over the last two years. While the cost of living is a large factor, Lanagan said a big part of the wave is moving to a place that is more aligned with people's beliefs and less government regulation. "You don't have a government or a school system that's going to tell you what you have to put in your kids' bodies or your own, for that matter," he said. Gilliam, who is friends with the other families that left California, said he would urge people to take a "leap of faith" and go explore different places throughout the U.S. "There are a lot of great places to live in this country where you can still have a lot of freedom," he said. "One of the mantras of our group is I left California and I moved to America. And it really feels that way when you leave." CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP For more Culture, Media, Education, Opinion, and channel coverage, visit foxnews.com/media.
26 Ekim 2023 - 11:40
Ex-California families say move to red states was caused by leftist policies and taxes: 'Time for us to leave'
Former California residents say red states such as Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee offer their families more freedom, lower taxes and greater safety.
26 Ekim 2023 - 11:40