California Residents Increasingly Ditching Their Massive Tax Bills And Unaffordable Housing For Las Vegas

Los Angeles residents have apparently had just about enough of their city's excessive home prices, unaffordable rents, crushing personal and corporate tax rates, overly burdensome regulations, polluted air, etc. and are increasingly leaving for a better life in Sin City.  As Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez puts it, "the rent steals so much of your paycheck, you might have to move back in with your parents, and half your life is spent staring at the rear end of the car in front of you."

As Jonas Peterson points out, his family made the move from LA to Las Vegas in 2013 and were able to double the size of their house while lowering their mortgage payment all while enjoying the added benefits of moving from one of the most over-taxed states in America to one of the lowest taxed.

Las Vegas is one of the most popular destinations for those who leave California. It’s close, it’s a job center, and the cost of living is much cheaper, with plenty of brand-new houses going for between $200,000 and $300,000.


Jonas Peterson enjoyed the California lifestyle and trips to the beach while living in Valencia with his wife, a nurse, and their two young kids. But in 2013, he answered a call to head the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, and the family moved to Henderson, Nev.


“We doubled the size of our house and lowered our mortgage payment,” said Peterson, whose wife is focusing on the kids now instead of her career.


Part of Peterson’s job is to lure companies to Nevada, a state that runs on gaming money rather than tax dollars.


“There’s no corporate income tax, no personal income tax...and the regulatory environment is much easier to work with,” said Peterson.

Of course, while many residents of metropolitan areas like Los Angeles get addicted to the 'large' salaries they can earn in big cities, others, like Michael Van Essen who recently made a move from LA to Mason City, Iowa, realize that the purchasing power of your income is far more important that the nominal dollars printed on the front of your paycheck.

You’d like to think it will get better, but when? All around you, young and old alike are saying goodbye to California.


“Best thing I could have done,” said retiree Michael J. Van Essen, who was paying $1,160 for a one-bedroom apartment in Silver Lake until a year and a half ago. Then he bought a house with a creek behind it for $165,000 in Mason City, Iowa, and now pays $500 a month less on his mortgage than he did on his rent in Los Angeles.


“If housing costs continue to rise, we should expect to see more people leaving high-cost areas,” said Jed Kolko, an economist with UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation.

Of course, Los Angeles isn't the only place where residents are increasingly fleeing in search of greener pastures.  As we've pointed out before, there is a growing wave of domestic migrants that are abandoning over-taxed and generally unaffordable metropolitan areas like San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Miami in search of better lifestyles in the Southeast and Texas.

Domestic Migration

Not surprisingly, the dark areas on the map above seem to match perfectly with the dark areas on this map which indicate those with the highest state income tax rates. 

Taxes by State

Tack on a rising violent crime rate and things in Illinois have grown so unbearable that the state is losing 1 resident every 4.6 minutes.

illinois outmigration

Of course, while liberal politicians often bemoan the existence of the Electoral College, these domestic migration trends could spell disaster for their opponents in national elections over the long-term as pretty much every major migratory pattern involves a mass exodus from blue states, like New York and California, into Red or Purple states like Texas, Florida, Arizona and Nevada.


Lore Automatic Choke Tue, 12/05/2017 - 02:21 Permalink

Yes, left coasters, please go and build your global-warmist project-housing socio-fascist infinite-debt communitarian utopia someplace where nobody else has to look at it.Water will be the issue in 2018, and that scares me more than it should (, 30-Nov-2017)The Water Wars Are Coming (ZH, 2015)Las Vegas Is "Screwed"; The Water Situation "Is As Bad As You Can Imagine" (ZH, 2014)

In reply to by Automatic Choke

not dead yet Lore Tue, 12/05/2017 - 04:42 Permalink

Water usage isn't as bad by the locals as claimed. Around 40 million people visit Vegas each year so it skews the amount of water the residents use. Stream flows have been fine but it's Arizona that's been draining Lake Mead and Lake Powell. Until they built the Central Arizona Project, of OPEN canals hundreds of mile long on the desert, in the 1990's Arizona wasn't taking their full allocation. Since them they have been taking their allocation a lot of which is not needed so they practically give it away to farmers growing cotton in the desert. South of Phoenix, in the hottest part of the state, mile after mile of cotton. For many years Vegas on a percentage basis was the fastest growing city in the US. In terms of numbers far far more moved to Phoenix. More than the whole population of Vegas. The Phoenix area has well over 200 golf courses while Vegas has less than 50. Over half the water Vegas takes from the lake gets cleaned and put back in. Can't say that about Phoenix or the farms in the S Cal deserts. If anyone needs to be put on a serious water diet it's Phoenix. The share of water from the Colorado for Nevada and Vegas is but a tea cup compared to Arizona and California. Hundreds of golf courses in S Cal desert, Palm Springs with over 100, and Arizona with over 300.

In reply to by Lore

not dead yet not dead yet Tue, 12/05/2017 - 04:57 Permalink

It's stupid to list the states by income tax rates. Many states, like no income tax Nevada, have high sales tax rates. In Nevada your car registration is based on the age and original base price of the vehicle. Years ago for giggles I figured the cost to license our 2 cars in Nevada, inexpensive models and a few years old, would have run over $500 each. Wisconsin is a flat $75 each. Wisconsin and many other states don't tax Social Security. Some don't tax pensions. One has to look at the whole tax picture not just cherry pick one as every state is going to raid your pocket one way or another.

In reply to by not dead yet

Stuck on Zero DeadFred Mon, 12/04/2017 - 23:25 Permalink

I have many friends who live in San Diego but own tiny Condos in Las Vegas. They claim the LV address as their permanent address and have all their bills and checks mailed there. They then claim to VRBO their SoCal home but secretly live there.  They exchange rentals with friends, wink wink. It's all scammy but results in big tax savings.

In reply to by DeadFred

Archibald Buttle in4mayshun Tue, 12/05/2017 - 02:44 Permalink

keep an eye on the water levels in lake mead. once certain levels are breached, the price of water may go crazy in some areas. i am pretty sure AZ has basically created the equivalent of a water derivative: they are "banking" water that they could save elsewhere (yeah, i know it's hard to lose your physical water in a boating accident unless you're smart like tucson) in order to keep from triggering water distribution changes due to the level in lake mead. not in the FL or TX circles on the map, but AZ had a lot of blue on it... tick tock tick tock

In reply to by in4mayshun

marketheretic Mon, 12/04/2017 - 22:47 Permalink

When the blue state people migrate to red states they tend to bring their politics with them and turn red states into purple.

Witness Colorado.

Sadly, the influx of red state Texans the last few years was not enough to offset the Californians and Illinoisans and now based on recent numbers Texans that had migrated to Colorado are now moving back to Texas in large numbers. Many long time residents are also leaving. So expect things to get even more blue for Colorado.

Don Sunset Mon, 12/04/2017 - 22:57 Permalink

Drain Lake Mead! 150 feet below full after huge flooding rainfall last year.  Ha!Go to Vegas long term if you like to roll around in hot sand.Don't forget your ground strap.  You'll need one for your dog too.Reno is probably better.And the hidden secret is L Tahoe on the NV side, but don't tell anyone.Most S CAL folks have no clue.

mc225 Don Sunset Tue, 12/05/2017 - 05:58 Permalink

it was 20 years ago, but i thought fallon was cool when driving through nevada. barstow, ca was cool, too... i mean, not literally 'cool' but cool... beautiful highways in an out of barstow... lots of 'space' (open land) in the area... but again... 20 years ago so i have no idea of today... 

In reply to by Don Sunset