When car manufacturers and multinational corporations move from state to state, it grabs headlines. When individuals and families make similar moves, rarely does it merit a mention in the newspaper.
That's what made a column last summer in the Dallas Morning News by the Register's own Mark Landsbaum such an important reminder that the policies states adopt have a real impact on the people who live there.
In the column, Mark lists all the reasons he and his wife made the agonizing decision to uproot themselves from their California lives and relocate to McKinney, Texas, which is just outside of Dallas. He talks about skyrocketing taxes, burdensome regulations and greater government intrusion.
"California, in the hands of big-government tax-and-spenders, had broken the promise that attracted my parents and their parents more than half a century ago," Mark wrote.
He also details just how much he and his wife were giving up: "To be separated by half a continent would mean an end to watching our beloved Dodgers with our son," he said. "No longer could we swing by our daughter's on the spur of the moment to lift and kiss our granddaughters and enjoy their hugs and laughter."
When I see companies like Toyota make the decision to move from California to Texas, I can quickly point to factors like our lower taxes, our fair courts, our common-sense regulations and our world-class workforce. I can cite Chief Executive Magazine, which has named Texas the "Best State to Do Business" for 10 years running. I can point out that since 2001, more than 37 percent of the net new private-sector jobs created in America have been created in Texas, and that our population -- Landsbaums included -- is growing by 1,000 people a day.
But rarely do we see such a difficult and personal narrative about how important personal freedom is to a family, and the (literal) distances a family will go to preserve it.
While my heart, naturally, will always belong to Texas, I understand the Landsbaums' love of California, and their frustration at seeing the state they love erode its many strengths with steadily-rising taxes, onerous regulations and mounting encroachments into the way they live and work.
In Texas, we understand the importance of individual freedom, and we work hard to keep the government as far removed from people's lives as possible. That extends to our business climate, as well, and that's been a big reason innovators and visionaries are increasingly relocating to or expanding in our state.
We understand the importance of unleashing the creative powers of industry to meet the challenges we all face.
For example, a while back we were told that the natural gas underneath a northern region of our state called the Barnett Shale was forever locked away, out of reach. Instead of giving up, however, we gave energy suppliers the freedom to let their best and brightest do what they do. As a result, the safe and effective drilling techniques they created have revolutionized the energy industry, and have been described as one of the biggest innovations of the century.
Thanks in large part to those efforts, those fields -- and other fields located across our state -- now power the employment of thousands, and have led to a reduction in natural gas prices, meaning more affordable energy for all.
If the first part of that situation sounds familiar to you, it's because California has been told a similar story. A recent report says that the vast majority of the staggering oil reserves beneath the Monterey Shale are simply out of reach. It remains to be seen if California will have the resolve to allow the energy industry to try to succeed, the same way they have in Texas.
I'm hopeful they will, in the same way I'm hopeful that California will see the light when it comes to excessive taxation and regulation, and embrace the personal freedoms that people like the Landsbaums believe in. I'm hopeful California will become as strong as ever, and that families will not have to be divided in search of personal and professional success.
Failing that, however, Texas will always stand ready to welcome anyone who's had enough of big government.