California vs. Texas

by | Oct 24, 2012

In recent years, much has been made about the economic success of Texas and the decline of California. Many have pointed to California’s tax and regulatory burdens and the more business friendly policies of Texas as a primary reason. These certainly are a fundamental reason, and one statistic captures the essence of the difference between […]

In recent years, much has been made about the economic success of Texas and the decline of California. Many have pointed to California’s tax and regulatory burdens and the more business friendly policies of Texas as a primary reason. These certainly are a fundamental reason, and one statistic captures the essence of the difference between the nation’s two most populous states.

In California, there are 252 non-education government employees per 10,000 citizens. In Texas, that number is 22 percent lower: 196 per 10,000 citizens. The obvious impact of this is that Texans must pay far less of their income to support government workers. In California, it is $11,302 per person; in Texas, it is $7,756 per person (the national average is about $9,450). Less obvious is what these government workers are doing.

Certainly, many government workers are working in legitimate government functions: police, courts, and prisons. But what are the others doing? They are creating regulations, checking paperwork, inspecting businesses, and generally putting obstacles in the path of citizens living their lives and operating their businesses. California has substantially more people erecting these arbitrary barriers than Texas.

In short, California has more people snooping and prying into the lives of its citizens than Texas does. Not only are Texans freed from the financial burden of paying for these glorified babysitters, Texans are freer to go about their business. And since Texans have been leading the nation in job creation for more than a decade, it would appear that their business is business—producing the values that we want and need.

Brian Phillips is the founder of the Texas Institute for Property Rights. Brian has been defending property rights for nearly thirty years. He played a key role in defeating zoning in Houston, Texas, and in Hobbs, New Mexico. He is the author of three books: Individual Rights and Government Wrongs, The Innovator Versus the Collective, and Principles and Property Rights. Visit his website at texasipr.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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