Standing on the first tee while staring at the Pacific Ocean, the mountains behind and Catalina Island in the distance, I thought about how wonderful it would be to live in Southern California year-round. By the ninth hole and much conversation with my playing partners, who lived there, I realized that reality is much different than a first impression—and that we have things pretty good in Dallas.
Much of the conversation turned from the natural beauty and weather (spectacular) to the business climate (difficult). Each of them had been in California for some time and expressed how difficult it is to now live and work there. Yes, there are headaches from traffic, but the major comments were centered on the regulatory environment and tax burden from the state.
Forbes recently dubbed California as “Taxifornia,” because it ranks first in taxing its citizens and businesses. No wonder it has one of the highest unemployment rates in the United States. Additionally, real estate continues to be exorbitantly expensive when compared to most other locations—especially Texas.
One of the most interesting comments made during our round of golf was that we (Texans) are stealing all their companies. I sarcastically thanked him for the “compliment.” The clear message was that we in Dallas-Fort Worth are in a wonderful position to continue to get relocations from high-tax and regulatory-burdened states like California, despite their natural beauty and enviable climate.
During the next 15 years, the population in North Texas is expected to grow about 50 percent. A large component of this growth will be driven by companies relocating to the area and creating new jobs, providing a great environment for us in the real estate business.
As long as our state leaders maintain a business-friendly climate, we will continue to “steal” from California. I am excited about what lies ahead for Dallas-Fort Worth; but California sure is a great place to visit, especially in July/August.