March 21, 2012
By Steve Brown
On Monday I was 70 miles west of Midland, barreling down Interstate 20.
The speed limits out in far West Texas are so high that you can set the cruise control at 85 miles an hour and sit back to enjoy the ride.
There isn’t much to look at other than sand hills around Monahans and some post-apocalyptic-looking oil field junk scattered among the scrub brush.
I don’t advise pulling off the highway to see the meteor crater west of Odessa. It’s just a hole in the ground that’s smaller than a typical construction job.
The most memorable sight on this stretch of road loomed in the slow lane heading east.
A big U-Haul truck with California tags was towing a shiny Maserati coupe on a trailer.
Behind it was a new Range Rover also sporting California plates.
Some 80 years ago, the scene out here would have been a convoy of ragtag Okies fleeing the ravages of the Dust Bowl for a new life in the golden West.
Except for the nicer vehicles and the direction of travel, the story was pretty much the same this week.
But now migrants are heading east to escape the economic drought in California.
A lot of them are winding up in Texas.
During 2011, more than 250 companies large and small departed California for new digs out of state.
Texas at the top
“The No. 1 state for California relocations is Texas,” said Orange County-based relocation consultant Joseph Vranich. “If you are looking to the future, I expect it to accelerate.”...
“If past is prologue, the exodus of people and businesses from California to Texas will accelerate as the economy improves,” said Bernard Weinstein, an economist at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business.
“It’s during periods of economic recovery that businesses think seriously about where they want to be positioned strategically for the upturn . . . in terms of products, services and location,” Weinstein said.
“There have never been so many ‘push factors’ in California, and Texas should be able to capitalize on California’s fiscal, regulatory and governmental dysfunction.”