Commentary Justin Owen: California Dreamin’


Justin Owen

June 27, 2019

Gov. Bill Lee says he is California dreamin’ after two more companies just announced their relocation to Tennessee from the Golden State. That marks four California-to-Tennessee headquarter relocations in the past six months alone. Companies are fleeing the left coast—and specifically California—in droves.

Mitsubishi Motors on Tuesday, June 25, announced it is moving its North America headquarters from California to Tennessee. The move will bring the Japanese automaker closer to its sister company Nissan and strengthen Tennessee’s growing reputation as an epicenter of the automotive sector.

While California Gov. Gavin Newsom blames media narratives around San Francisco’s “poop maps” and its commitment to environmental issues over bottom lines, the reality is that companies are leaving and taking jobs with them due to the state’s high taxes and excessive regulations.

San Francisco-based Inc. will create 450 jobs in Nashville as part of the company’s new account management headquarters.

States like Tennessee, on the other hand, have built a thriving economy with sound public policy. We lack an income tax—and have even banned one in our state constitution. We have relatively low taxes and the lowest per capita debt in the nation. We have long protected the right to work. We have strong tort laws that curb lawsuit abuse. And we have a limited regulatory environment. We certainly still have work to do in a number of areas, but as Gov. Lee said, Tennessee is indeed open for business.

We hope more companies look at Tennessee as a place to relocate and grow. But to those companies, we hope you remember two things: First, you are eyeing Tennessee because of those good policies above, so don’t go scrambling for corporate handouts that really don’t drive your decision to relocate to begin with. It’s hard to keep taxes low when we dole out so much taxpayer money to companies.

LA VERGNE – Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe announced the ICEE Co. will establish its headquarters in LaVergne and create about 200 jobs in Rutherford County in the next five years.

And second, don’t bring California’s values here with you. Remember, that’s why you’re fleeing in the first place. Leave those Big Government ideas on the left coast.

Tennessee should be proud to be a top destination for businesses fleeing poorly-run states. To all those companies seeking a friendly business environment here in Tennessee, welcome home. We’re glad to have you.