One of the best indicators of a state’s economic health, according to John Merline, writing in Investor’s Business Daily, is the “U-Haul Index” (first publicized by economist Mark Perry) to see what people are paying to move into, or out of, the state. Renting a 20-foot truck one way from San Francisco to San Antonio, Texas, for example, costs $1,693. Going in the other direction, however, costs only $983 for the same truck.

As Perry explains:

The American people and businesses are voting with their feet and their one-way truck rentals to escape California and its forced unionism, high taxes, and high unemployment rate for a better life in low-tax, business-friendly, right-to-work states like Texas.

They have lots of reasons to leave. According to the Tax Foundation, “Tax Freedom Day” arrives earlier in Texas than it does in California, due to its zero individual and corporate income tax and a lower sales tax. Put together, Texas’ state and local tax burden is less than eight percent of income, well below the national average of nearly 10 percent, while California’s is almost 12 percent.

This enormous disparity puts California the 48th out of the 50 states in the foundation’s overall business tax climate index, while Texas ranks ninth.

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