Friday, February 20, 2009

Here come the Califoreigners!

Fellow Missourians, get ready to meet some new neighbors. Californians, the sons and daughters of Midwesterners who went west to find a more prosperous life, are leaving that state and heading east, looking for cheap land.

Here's an excerpt from a report in USA Today titled "In California's meltdown, misery has a long reach":

California's troubles have been fueled by an influx of illegal immigrants who place increasing demands on social services. They have helped to boost the state's overall population even as it loses thousands of residents who are leaving for other states.

In each of four years prior to June 2008, more people left California than moved in from other states, a reversal of a decades-long trend in which the state took in more than it lost.

The U.S. Census reports that California's population rose despite the population outflow, from 34 million in 2000 to 37 million in 2008, because of an increase in births and foreign immigration, legal and illegal.

Those leaving point to an unemployment rate that hit 9.3% in December, up from 5.9% a year earlier and fourth-highest in the nation, and taxes on income, sales and gas that are among the highest in the nation.

The exodus is enough that California could lose one of its 53 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in the redistricting that will be based on the 2010 Census.

"The main thing for me is the cost of living," says Carly Meyer, 25, who is weighing a move from Lompoc, a town of walnut farms and vineyards near the Pacific Coast, to Utah. "I've been thinking of buying a home, putting some money down, and it's just about impossible in California."

Missouri is one of the states the Califoreigners have chosen, especially Southern Missouri. That's why you see land that used to sell for $200 an acre going for $2,000 an acre or more.

What are they bringing with them? California's values and lifestyle. Complaints about not enough to do, not enough malls, too much animal smells, etc. Calls for regulation of your property and your lives.

Whoopee! It's going to be fun.

Of course, we're Missourians and we can't help but be nice and neighborly. We'll welcome these folks with open arms, knowing that by doing so their presence will eventually radically change the state and we'll be saying good-bye to the Missouri we love.--RDH

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