A Quick Opinion: Are you thinking about leaving California?

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A Winters Express opinion column

By Charley Wallace
Publisher Emeritus

In my continuing search for $4 gasoline, I ended up in Kansas City a couple of weeks ago. Not to be confused, I visited both the Kansas side of the city and ventured a hundred miles, or so, east into Missouri to visit with a niece who is stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base. Just to clarify, Kansas City is in both Kansas and Missouri, with the airport on the Missouri side. It is hard to keep track of which state you are in because it all looks the same, rolling hills and prairie.

This isn’t our first trip to Kansas City, but I was still surprised at how cheap everything is, from $3.46 per gallon gasoline to $18 meals of brisket, potatoes, beans and slaw. You don’t want to be on a diet in the Midwest.

Shelly, our niece, lives off base in a nice two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath condo, with a basement. She pays $910 per month and utilities are affordable. Her Air Force housing allowance almost pays all of her rent. She mentioned that when she is deployed for six months at a time, she just makes sure her two dogs and cat are taken care of and off she goes. Rent isn’t an issue.

I can see why Californians are moving to the Midwest, Idaho and Texas, but I watch the weather channel and I’ll just stay here, thank you very much. If you don’t like California politics, our high cost of living and liberals, maybe it is a good idea for you to move somewhere else. My guess is that you won’t find happiness, but you might find a cheaper place to live. Hopefully you can find a job that pays you enough to improve your lifestyle.

California is slowly losing people to other states, but I read that we are short on housing to the tune of over a million units. That might be apartments or single family homes, but there aren’t enough homes for everyone that wants one. Even if you can afford a home in California, you will be paying a high percentage of your total income on housing.

Winters isn’t exempt from rising home prices. We are building more homes than we have in decades and the prices just keep going up. I’m not sure home prices can continue to balloon with interest rates on the rise, but we could use a million more people to leave the state to help with our housing shortage. I used to have a list of people that I wished would move out of Winters, but now that I’m semi-retired I can’t remember where I put it.

Before I returned the rental car, I stopped by a Conoco gas station by the airport. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was close to the airport, so I was holding onto my wallet. I kept the receipt to prove that I had filled up the tank, $3.549 per gallon. Their gas tax is 24 cents per gallon while ours is 51.1 cents, so the price difference is just taxes.

If you can’t afford gas to get to the Youth Day Sausage Breakfast, stop by the barbecue and I’ll chip in a quarter to help you out.

Have a good week.

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