Celebrities like Joe Rogan, Ben Shapiro, and Elon Musk have fled California for greener pastures in recent years, making headlines. But it's not just individuals: According to a Stanford study, more businesses have already fled the Golden State or partially relocated out of California in 2021 than in all of 2020, including big names such as Nestle, Toyota, Snowflake, and Hewlett-Packard.
Now, California can add YouTube star and BlazeTV host Dave Rubin to the list of successful entrepreneurs that have had enough. On Monday, Rubin took to Twitter and YouTube to announce his decision and explain what’s prompting his move—plus where he’s heading next.
Personal thanks to @GavinNewsom as I am officially leaving the dystopian nightmare of California for the free state of Florida. My successful business and all my employees are coming with.— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) December 13, 2021
See you soon, @GovRonDeSantis!
“Personal thanks to [Governor] Gavin Newsom as I am officially leaving the dystopian nightmare of California for the free state of Florida,” he tweeted. “My successful business and all my employees are coming with. See you soon, [Governor] Ron DeSantis!”
I spoke with Rubin to discuss the reasoning behind his move, which is undoubtedly symbolic of broader trends. He told me that individuals making choices to live in freer states is a “bottom-up” way to fix this country.
“This camel’s back has been breaking for a long time,” Rubin said.
“[Governor] Gavin Newsom is an unbearable tyrant, who dared to extend his emergency powers and then immediately take a $200,000 vacation,” he lamented. “Then he was just on The View promoting his children’s book… what emergency? And the people seem to want more of this.”
Rubin went on to cite vaccine passports, mask conformity, high crime, “human poop on the streets,” “overflowing trash cans,” and much more as motivating his exit. But he placed a particular emphasis on the role that high taxes and crushing regulations played in pushing his business elsewhere.
“We have the top marginal income tax rate in the country, 7 percent sales tax, our gas tax is 50 cents, and now they’re trying to push through a retroactive tax, an exit tax for rich California residents who leave,” Rubin complained in his video announcement. “They want to tax you for leaving! They stole all that stuff from you and now they want more because you make the decision to leave. California is the most regulated state in the country, with LA being probably the most regulated city in the state.”
As I previously explained on FEE.org, the terrible California economic policies Rubin is identifying are very real:
California has regulated and taxed its once-thriving economy into a coma. The state now ranks as the 50th-worst state to do business in, according to Chief Executive magazine’s 2021 survey. Meanwhile, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council ranks the Golden State the 49th-worst state to do business in. And the Tax Foundation reports that California has the 49th-worst business tax climate in the country.
In stark contrast, Florida has no income tax at all and ranks 3rd on the best places to do business. Rubin and his successful small business are just one of many that have been attracted to Florida due to these pro-growth economic policies.
“I really wanted to be in a place that’s truly fighting for what I believe in and Florida is that place,” he told me.
And that’s why Rubin’s story has broader significance.
“This is the absolute best example of why America is such a great country,” he said on the phone. “I’m very depressed about what our federal government has become — the Biden administration has been absolutely terrible — but we’re seeing that federalism, the idea that states can make their own decisions, actually works.”
Rubin is on to something. In a one-size-fits-all system, people have no recourse if their leaders pursue failed and ineffective policies. But when states can compete, those with better policies can win out over time. Just consider Rubin’s farewell message to California: “You are out of line with my beliefs… I don’t want to fund my demise.”
If other successful Americans follow Rubin’s lead and vote with their feet, there’s hope for freedom yet.