Leaving ‘hotel California’: Business owners torn over exodus share stories of ‘how bad’ things really are

Leaving ‘hotel California’: Business owners torn over exodus share stories of ‘how bad’ things really are

California’s businesses share the same “headache,” being personally torn between closing their doors or moving to other states over high crime and taxes.

“I have considered moving to a different state,” Flavio Carvalho, an attorney and law firm founder in the San Francisco Bay area, told Fox News Digital. “I don’t agree with the direction California is going, and I hate the fact that I am forced to support it through my taxes.”

“We have wanted to move for at least the last three to four years,” Bulletproof Pet Products CEO and CFO Cherie Falwell also said. “Especially since Biden has been president. Things were already expensive here. Now they are so expensive we can hardly afford to do business. However, moving is expensive, and with interest rates on homes, it is difficult to move.” 

“We are L.A., California natives, and have never lived or worked anywhere else,” Trish Aquino, who owns a digital marketing business with her husband Brandon, weighed in. “It was our financial strife, prospecting struggles and concern for our children’s futures that made us finally consider a move to Frisco, Texas.”

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More than 86% of business owners in California say that crime has increased in their area, while 67% from the same survey claimed to be considering moving their headquarters out of the Golden State, according to the latest numbers from RedBalloon and PublicSq.’s Freedom Economy Index.

Leaving ‘hotel California’: Business owners torn over exodus share stories of ‘how bad’ things really are

California business owners Flavio Carvalho, Cherie Falwell and Trish Aquino have all recently considered moving their operations to Texas, Florida or Nevada. (iStock)

The national survey includes 80,000 business owners, with 10% of those respondents being based in California, RedBalloon CEO Andrew Crapuchettes noted.

“Employers we’ve been talking to have been planning a move or thinking about a move since 2020,” Crapuchettes told Digital. “And what’s happening is, in the last couple of years, every time Gavin Newsom does a new stupid thing, it makes it a lot easier for them to make that decision.”

“[It’s a] headache,” the CEO continued. “They are dealing with regulation, they’re dealing with taxes, they’re dealing with crime… They’re still generating economic activity, but this invisible groundswell of businesses [are] planning on leaving the state, and that’s because of those bad policies.”

Top reasons employers in the survey want to leave California include high tax rates, anti-business policies, “woke” public school systems and high crime rates.

All three owners — Carvalho, Falwell and Aquino — claimed crime has increased in their respective neighborhoods.

“The building where I have my office has just installed floodlights throughout the parking lot, installed new doors and upgraded the security system to improve safety,” Carvalho detailed. “Throughout the neighborhood, there are signs reminding people not to leave valuables in their cars.”

“It used to be this very nice town, now it is just horrible,” Falwell said. “We have been in our home for 17 years, we have had mail theft. The crime has impacted my desire to even leave my house or business.”

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“We are blessed to work from home, so we have no additional property to worry about and protect. That being said, I don’t feel safe walking my kids around the block,” Aquino expanded. “I’ve witnessed a hit-and-run of a parked car right in front of my house, midday high-speed chases on our street, a freeway exit beggar [getting] into a van and a person shooting up in front of a commercial trash can.”

“My car was hit while parked at my previous job, we’ve had shredded refuse stolen out of our recycling bin,” the marketing firm owner added. “There was a shooting at our mall late last year, and we hear search copters overhead every other week… You don’t realize how bad things are until you’re asked to recollect and actually list it out.”

RedBalloon CEO quote with graph

Data from RedBalloon and PublicSq.’s Freedom Economy Index show 67% of California businesses considering a move out of the state. (Fox News)

Although California has one of the highest tax burdens in America, RedBalloon’s CEO and some of the employers recognize the emotional difficulty in leaving their longtime home.

“[In] hotel California, you can check out any time, but you can’t leave. It’s hard to get your business to move somewhere, and particularly for conservatives… We try and make things better where we are,” Crapuchettes said. “It takes a lot to make a conservative leave where they grow up, leave where they have their business established. And so this is kind of a big deal that these businesses are moving.”

“I had my first job when I was 13 years old, working for a car upholstery shop. In high school, I worked the fields of Harrison Farm in the San Joaquin Valley… I love my state and my country, and I think I am somehow supposed to fight for its future. So I have not left California yet,” Carvalho said.

After troubles with touring homes and finding a new church, the Aquino family ultimately decided not to move to Frisco.

“These were just a couple of the factors that made it abundantly clear to us that God was slamming this door in our face… I hope that we will have the Godly wisdom to accurately discern how to ensure that our business thrives versus just survives,” Aquino explained. 

Texas, Florida and Nevada stand as the top state choices where the three entrepreneurs would consider moving their businesses and families.

“The business environment is a lot friendlier. There’s plenty of talent in those states. The taxes are way better,” Crapuchettes pointed out. “We saw Elon Musk head to Texas, PublicSq. move their headquarters from Southern California to Florida. And we’ve talked to lots and lots of other businesses that are doing the same thing.”

Attorney Carvalho shared a similar opinion.

“Florida appeals to me because of the policies of Gov. [Ron] DeSantis, the warm weather, and the ease of travel to Europe, the Caribbean or South America,” he said. 

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“We would love to move our home and our business to Nevada,” Falwell said. “We have considered other states like Texas, Florida and Tennessee. The reason for those states, especially Nevada, is because the taxes and cost of living are cheaper. [The] minimum wage here is horrible.”

Reflecting on the inevitable economic impact of the California business exodus, Crapuchettes warned of “dramatic impacts on the state, on their economy, on their budget. That’s what I think is the interesting story, is [that] a lot of this activity hasn’t happened yet, isn’t caught in the economic data, but it’s coming and it will have huge impacts.”

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