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Ben Shapiro: We’ve Had To Make a ‘Heartbreaking’ Decision

My family and my company are leaving California.

It’s heartbreaking.

My parents moved to California four decades ago. I grew up here. For 33 of the 36 years I’ve spent on this planet, I’ve lived here.

I was born at St. Joseph’s in Burbank; I attended elementary school at Edison Elementary; I went to college at UCLA. I co-founded a major media company here, with 75 employees in Los Angeles. I met my wife here; all three of my kids are native Californians.

This is the most beautiful state in the country. The climate is incredible. The scenery is amazing. The people are generally warm, and there’s an enormous amount to do.

Instead, the government allowed those problems to metastasize. As of 2011, Los Angeles County counted fewer than 40,000 homeless; as of 2020, that number had skyrocketed to 66,000. Suburban areas have become the sites of homeless encampments. Nearly every city underpass hosts a tent city; the city, in its kindness, has put out porta-potties to reduce the possibility of COVID-19 spread.

Police are forbidden in most cases from either moving transients or even moving their garbage. Nearly every public space in Los Angeles has become a repository for open waste, needles and trash.

The most beautiful areas of Los Angeles, from Santa Monica beach to my suburb, have become wrecks. My children have personally witnessed drug use, public urination and public nudity. Looters were allowed free reign in the middle of the city during the Black Lives Matter riots; Rodeo Drive was closed at 1 p.m., and citizens were curfewed at 6 p.m.

At the same time, taxes have risen. California’s top marginal income tax rate is now 13.3 percent; legislators want to raise it to 16.8 percent. California is also home to a 7.25 percent sales tax, a 50-cent gas tax and a bevy of other taxes that drain the wallet and burden business.

California has the worst regulatory climate in America, according to CEO Magazine’s survey of 650 CEOs. The public-sector unions essentially make public policy, running up the debt while providing fewer and fewer actual services.

California’s public education system is a massive failure, and even its once-great colleges are now burdened by the stupidities of political correctness, including an unwillingness to use standardized testing.

And still, the state legislature is dominated by Democrats. California is not on a trajectory toward recovery; it is on a trajectory toward oblivion.

Taxpayers are moving out — now including my family and my company. In 2019, before the pandemic and the widespread rioting and looting, outmigration jumped 38 percent, rising for the seventh straight year. That number will increase again this year.

I want my kids to grow up safe. I want them to grow up in a community with a future, with more freedom and safety than I grew up with. California makes that impossible.

So, goodbye, Golden State. Thanks for the memories.

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