Last week on his “Hardball” program, Chris Matthews proved that he is once again “loose with the facts”. In discussing the state of California, where he was on a book tour, Matthews had the following to say:

“The Golden State is unquestionably on a roll led by Democratic Governor, yes, Jerry Brown, and 
Democratic supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature. No obstruction out here. These headlines tell the story of California. "California faces a new quandary. Too much money", "Governor Jerry Brown credited with turning California around, changing national conversation", and "California comeback, Jerry Brown leads a turnaround."

Matthews then went on to quote leftist comedian Bill Maher in citing California as a liberal counter-example to the success of states led by Republican reformers such as Wisconsin, North Carolina and Texas. But do the facts really support his claims? A quick look at the key economic indicators shows that Matthews & Maher’s claims are patently false :

            California’s state and local tax burden: Californians send 11.23% of their income to                 either Sacramento or their local government. Only four other states have a bigger tax bite.

California’s unemployment rate is: 8.9%, (higher than all but three states) and well above the national average of 7.3%

            California’s unfunded pension liability: $222.2 billion

California’s Cost of Government Day: Taxpayers in the Golden State have to work until July 22nd to pay for the cost of operating their state government, well over half the year and a full week after the national average of July 15th.

California’s Taxpayer Exodus: From the years 2000-2010, California has seen 1.2 million taxpayers flee the state, taking with them over $29 billion in income.

Despite what Matthews and Maher would like to believe, individuals, families, and employers have been voting with their feet and the results show that California’s progressive model produces a hostile tax and regulatory environment to start a business, find a job, and raise a family. In fact, the Republican controlled states derided as troglodyte alternatives to the progressive California model by Matthew and Maher are among the top destinations for California tax refugees. Out of those 1.2 million Californians who fled the Golden State during the last decade, 38,638 moved to North Carolina, taking with them $1.2 billion in income. Texas is the top recipient of those seeking asylum from California, with 225,111 California taxpayers having fled for the Lone Star State, taking $4.4 billion in income with them.

Unfortunately for Matthews and Maher, their gloating has zero basis in reality. It is no mistake that the top 3 states with the lowest unemployment rates in the nation are led by Republican governors. In addition, Forbes magazine recently released their “Best States for Business” list, and 11 of the top 15 states listed are guided by Republican chief executives. The fact is, on the state level, Republican Governors are leading the way in creating pro-growth tax and regulatory climates.