Firms Move from High Crime Chicago to Lower Crime Texas, Virginia, and Florida

(p. B4) The hedge fund Citadel and the trading firm Citadel Securities, both run by the billionaire Ken Griffin, are moving their offices to Miami after more than three decades in Chicago, according to a memo to employees that was obtained by The New York Times on Thursday [June 23, 2022].

The move follows elevated tensions between Mr. Griffin and Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, a Democrat, over taxes and the city’s crime rate. (Florida is one of the few states that don’t have a state income tax.) And it comes as the rise of remote work during the coronavirus pandemic has enabled companies to more freely move their offices in search of lower taxes, a more affordable work force or other potential perks. In recent months, Caterpillar said it was moving its office from Illinois to Texas, and Boeing has said it is moving from Illinois to Virginia. . . .

“The firms are having difficulty recruiting top talent from across the world to Chicago given the rising and senseless violence in the city,” said Zia Ahmed, a Citadel spokesman. “Talent wants to live in cities where they feel safe.”

According to the Chicago Police Department, there were 797 murders in 2021, up from 772 in 2020. Crime has been spiking in the city, though it is largely concentrated in a few areas.

While not a direct comparison, Miami Dade County reported 30 homicide offenses this year through May, down from 48 over the same period last year.

For the full story, see:

Lauren Hirsch. “Hedge Fund Cites Crime for Leaving Chicago.” The New York Times (Friday, June 24, 2022): B4.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed date, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 23, 2022, and has the title “Citadel says it will move offices to Miami because of crime in Chicago.”)

Recycling Is Good When It Saves Enough to Be Worth the Time

“Juani Lira shopping for her 13 grandchildren at Ludy’s Ropa Usada in downtown McAllen.” Source: online version of the NYT article cited below.

(p. 18) McALLEN, Texas — A mountain of clothes swallowed half of Juani Lira’s petite body, from the waist down. But the 67-year-old did not seem to mind. Ms. Lira closely inspected a pair of black shorts studded with rhinestones and tossed them behind her, unimpressed. Too flashy for her teenage granddaughter, she murmured.

Ms. Lira then spotted a long-sleeved, pearl-colored blouse, still with a tag intact. Bingo. She looked around her, as if she were getting away with something, and tucked the blouse at the bottom of a duffle bag. At a price of 71 cents a pound, Ms. Lira was on her way to collecting a haul big enough to clothe most of her 13 grandchildren at Ludy’s Ropa Usada in downtown McAllen.

. . .

During several visits to ropa usada warehouses, some of them just a mile from the Rio Grande, store operators were protective of their businesses and their clients’ privacy. Signs prohibiting photos were often posted at the entrance, a reminder that the stigma of shopping for discarded clothes persists. Some people hid their faces in the piles of clothing, and some avoided eye contact.

But others, like the longtime ropa usada shopper Angelica Gallardo, 64, felt there was no shame in struggling to make ends meet and doing the best you could to clothe your growing clan. Ms. Gallardo spends hours at a time meticulously inspecting an endless heap of potential purchases. “You have to dig in!” she said.

Ms. Gallardo, who said she has been shopping at ropa usada outlets since the 1970s, has developed a keen eye for “the good stuff” from the “pila” — the pile.

For the full story, see:

Edgar Sandoval. “In Texas, Clothes by the Pound to Make Ends Meet.” The New York Times, First Section (Sunday, April 10, 2022): 18.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the same date as the print version, and has the title “On the Border, Buying Clothes by the Pound at Ropa Usada Shops.”)

Some Texas Firms Resisted the Trend to Enter the Debate on the Texas Bill on the Integrity of Voting

On April 1, 2021, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 7 on “Election Integrity.”

(p. B6) . . . , Texas is an important state for big business, with companies and their employees drawn in part by tax incentives and the promise of affordable real estate. Several Silicon Valley companies have moved to Texas or expanded their presence there in recent years.

Apple plans to open a $1 billion campus in Austin next year, and produces some of its high-end computers at a plant in the area.

In December [2020], Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced that it would move its headquarters from California to the Houston area, while the software company Oracle said it would take its headquarters to Austin. And last month, Elon Musk issued a plea on Twitter for engineers to move to Texas and take jobs at SpaceX, his aerospace company.

Mr. Musk’s other companies, Tesla and the Boring Company, have also expanded their presences in the state in recent months.

None of those companies have so far voiced opposition to the Texas legislation. And at least for now, there is little indication that the growing outcry from big business is changing Republicans’ priorities.

For the full story, see:

David Gelles and Andrew Ross Sorkin. “Big Law Joins Fight To Protect Voting Rights.” The New York Times (Tuesday, April 13, 2021): B1 & B6.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date April 12, 2021, and has the title “Defying Republicans, Big Companies Keep the Focus on Voting Rights.”)

At the University of Austin, the Intellectually Diverse Will Discuss, Rather Than Censor, “Provocative Questions”

(p. A16) A group of scholars and activists are planning to establish a new university dedicated to free speech, alarmed, they said, “by the illiberalism and censoriousness prevalent in America’s most prestigious universities.”

The university, to be known as the University of Austin, or UATX for short, will have a soft start next summer with “Forbidden Courses,” a noncredit program that its founders say will offer a “spirited discussion about the most provocative questions that often lead to censorship or self-censorship in many universities.”

The university then plans to expand to master’s programs and, in several years, to undergraduate courses.

. . .

The prospective university’s board of advisers features some of the most prominent iconoclasts in the country, including Lawrence H. Summers, the former Harvard president; Steven Pinker, a Harvard linguist and psychologist; David Mamet, the playwright; and Glenn Loury, an economist at Brown.

. . .

“I think new models for a university are important,” Dr. Pinker said, “because current universities are locked into a strange business model: exorbitant tuition, a mushrooming bureaucracy, and obscure admissions policies that are neither meritocratic nor egalitarian, combined with plummeting intellectual diversity and tolerance for open inquiry (which is, after all, a university’s raison d’être).”

For the full story, see:

Anemona Hartocollis. “Organizers Plan New University They Say Will Defend Free Speech.” The New York Times (Tuesday, November 9, 2021): A16.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Nov. 8, 2021, and has the title “They Say Colleges Are Censorious. So They Are Starting a New One.”)

Californians Move to Texas, to Prosper

(p. 5) A Californian will feel right at home in Dallas even before touching the ground. Like the suburbs around Los Angeles, San Diego and across the Bay Area, Dallas and other Texas metros are built on the certainty of cars and infinite sprawl; from the air, as I landed, I could see the familiar landscape of endless blocks of strip malls and single-family houses, all connected by a circulatory system of freeways.

. . .

My guide through the Dallas suburbs was Marie Bailey, a real estate agent who runs Move to Texas From California!, a Facebook group that helps disillusioned Californians find their way to the promised land. Bailey is herself a Californian. She and her family moved in 2017 from El Segundo, a beach city next to Los Angeles International Airport, to Prosper, a landlocked oasis of new housing developments north of Dallas. In El Segundo, the median home list price is $1.3 million; in Prosper, it’s less than half that.

And in Prosper, the houses are palatial, many of them part of sprawling new developments that brim with amenities unheard-of in California. “It’s like living in a country club,” Bailey told me, which sounded like hyperbole until she showed me the five-acre lagoon and white sand beach in the development where she and her husband purchased a home. Their house is 5,000 square feet; they bought it for about the same price for which they sold a home they owned in Orange County, which was 1,500 square feet.

Bailey’s move gets to the heart of the great California-Texas migration: housing. As she drove me around Dallas’s suburbs, Bailey would point out cute house after cute house now occupied by a Californian. I had been talking about the idea of choosing between California and Texas, but for many people moving here, Bailey suggested, there really was not much choice at all — it was simply that, economically, they could not make their lives work in California, and in Texas, they could.

. . .

Texas, now, feels a bit like California did when I first moved here in the late 1980s — a thriving, dynamic place where it doesn’t take a lot to establish a good life. For many people, that’s more than enough.

For the full commentary, see:

Farhad Manjoo, Gus Wezerek and Yaryna Serkez. “Is Texas the New California?” The New York Times, SundayReview Section (Sunday, November 28, 2021): 4-5.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Nov. 23, 2021, and has the title “Everyone’s Moving to Texas. Here’s Why.”)

30% of U.S. Manufacturing Job Growth Is in Southwest

(p. A1) Companies producing everything from steel to electric cars are planning and building new plants in Southwest states, far from historical hubs of American industry in the Midwest and Southeast.  . . .

The Southwest, comprising Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, increased its manufacturing output more than any other region in the U.S. in the four years through 2020, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Those states plus Nevada added more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs from January 2017 to January 2020, representing 30% of U.S. job growth in that sector and at roughly triple the national growth rate, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

. . .

(p. A8) Manufacturers in the Southwest have been relatively insulated from pandemic shutdowns and layoffs, and job growth there is expected to continue.

. . .

Some growth in the Southwest has come at the expense of California, classified in U.S. statistics as part of the Far West. In 2019, nearly 2,000 manufacturing workers in Texas and more than 1,300 in Arizona arrived from California, the most in a decade, the most recent Census Bureau data show. More than 2,700 manufacturing workers have come to Nevada from California in 2017 through 2019.

For the full story, see:

Ben Foldy and Austen Hufford. “Southwest Emerges As America’s New Factory Hub.” The Wall Street Journal (Weds., June 02, 2021): A1 & A8.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 1, 2021, and has the same title in search list, but on the article page has the title “The Southwest Is America’s New Factory Hub. ‘Cranes Everywhere.’”)

California Tech Firms Move to Texas for Its “Laissez-Faire Environment”

(p. B1) Moves by high-profile companies to Texas from California are likely to improve the personal finances of executives and offer employees more affordable housing—but make little difference to the firms’ tax bills.

Oracle Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co. are the latest big corporations to announce moves to the Lone Star State. Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Inc., is also moving to Texas, and the electric car company is expanding there.

The announcements have highlighted the vastly different tax and regulatory systems in the country’s two most populous states. California relies more on taxing personal income, particularly of high-income households, and operates a growing regulatory structure. Texas leans on more regressive property and sales taxes and boasts a more laissez-faire environment. The biggest difference: High-paid executives who move can see their state income-tax bills go from 13.3% to nothing.

. . .

(p. B2) Changing addresses or even moving people and facilities doesn’t necessarily change a company’s tax costs on its own.

. . .

The bigger factor—outweighing any change in business taxes—is likely to be the lower cost of employing workers in the state. For most people, that calculation is more about housing costs, said Darien Shanske, a tax law professor at the University of California, Davis. Housing scarcity and land-use regulations are bigger drivers of payroll costs than taxes.

“Moving a headquarters to Austin where people can afford a place to live, that dominates whether they pay the personal income tax, for most people,” Mr. Shanske said.

For the full story, see:

Richard Rubin and Theo Francis. “Lower Costs Draw Tech Firms to Texas.” The Wall Street Journal (Thurs., Dec 17, 2020): B1-B2.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date December 16, 2020, and has the title “Texas’ Tax Advantage Is All About Individuals, Not Business Taxes.”)

Salt Lake City’s ‘Robustly Redundant Labor Market’

(p. B1) As the pandemic raged through the U.S. in 2020, no metropolitan area in the country expanded the size of its labor force more on a percentage basis than Utah’s capital. It also had the lowest average unemployment rate and the highest share of people working or looking for jobs. These signs of strength helped it rank first among 53 large metro areas in an annual examination of U.S. labor markets conducted by The Wall Street Journal, after ranking No. 4 in 2019.

Other cities that emerged as beacons to job seekers and businesses during the pandemic were, like Salt Lake City, located far from the coasts. Hubs in the Southwest and Midwest such as Austin, Denver, Indianapolis and Kansas City minimized employment losses, kept unemployment relatively low and retained and attracted workers in a year when the U.S. lost more than 9 million jobs.

Some benefited from technology jobs that became even more critical during a time of isolation for many Americans, while others relied on older corners of the economy that were also in high demand. Workers gravitated to these places due to the job opportunities, lower costs and a quieter lifestyle that appealed to some migrants from bigger population centers who were now allowed to work remotely.

The losers were tourist hot spots such as Las Vegas or densely-populated cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago that lost workers as the coronavirus spread. Even once-hot tech hubs of San Francisco, Raleigh, N.C., and Boston suffered de-(p. B8)clines. Some of these laggards were more aggressive with their business lockdowns, allowing rival metros with fewer restrictions and lower costs to capitalize on the chaos.

. . .

Salt Lake City wasn’t immune from the spread of Covid-19, but it was able to avoid multiple shutdowns that crippled other cities. It did so partly because of a shared local effort to keep businesses open. The local chamber of commerce and state health department partnered on a campaign where participating local companies committed to having their employees maintain distance from others, wear masks and stay home when they are sick.

. . .

“It appears to be exceptionally friendly to business here,” Mr. Mulligan said. His company, Pubtelly LLC, sells software to sports bars and similar establishments to manage content playing on their TVs. The Salt Lake area has a healthy (p. B9) mix of growing startups and well-established companies, he said, plus a strong local university network that serves as a pipeline for younger talent.

If his current venture doesn’t pan out, Mr. Mulligan said he would be happy to stay in the Salt Lake area, either working for a local company or launching another business. “I don’t see a challenge with either going to work for someone else, or forming a company with others,” he said.

For the full story, see:

Danny Dougherty, Hannah Lang, and Kim Mackrael. “The New American Boomtowns.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, April 10, 2021): B1 & B8-B9.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date April 9, 2021, and has the title “Where Can You Find a New Job? Try These U.S. Cities.”)

Armed Parishoners Avert Massacre

(p. A1) WHITE SETTLEMENT, Texas — A gunman opened fire at a church in Texas on Sunday morning [December 29, 2019], killing two people with a shotgun before a member of the church’s volunteer security team fatally shot him, the authorities said.

About 250 people were inside the auditorium of the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, near Fort Worth, when the gunman began shooting just before communion, said Jack Cummings, a minister at the church.

Mr. Cummings said the gunman was “acting suspiciously” before the shooting and drew the attention of the church’s security team. The team, he said, has existed for at least 10 years and is made up of members of the church’s congregation who are licensed to carry firearms and practice shooting regularly.

“They saved a lot of lives today,” Mr. Cummings said. “Because this thing would have been a massacre otherwise.”

For the full story, see:

Patrick McGee and Mihir Zaveri. “‘This Would Have Been a Massacre’ if Not for Church Security.” The New York Times (Monday, December 30, 2019): A9.

(Note: bracketed date added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was last updated on December 31, 2019, and has the title “Shooting at Texas Church Leaves 2 Parishioners Dead, Officials Say.”)

With Work Ethic, but Not Much Education, “You Can Come Out Here and Still Make Six Figures”

(p. B1) When Mike Wilkinson moved to Midland, Tex., in 2017, he hoped the world’s largest oil field would change his life. His marriage was in tatters. He owed tens of thousands in credit card debt. His morale was broken.

He soon began working as a “hot shot” truck driver, carrying loads for drillers who need pipes or drums in a hurry. The United States is the world’s largest producer of oil, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia, and demand for “hot shots” has soared.

The epicenter of the oil boom is the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, a massive layer cake of shale that’s cracked open with a blasting technique known as fracking. The country’s growing energy dominance has created tens of thousands of jobs in this part of the Southwest in recent years, many for people like Wilkinson looking for fresh starts.

. . .

(p. B4) There are now 55,000 people now work in the Permian. Mr. Wilkinson says he’s found a certain camaraderie with other transplants: “They are either escaping debt or family issues or poverty.

. . .

“I have to make money, and this is the best way I can make money,” he said. “If you’re not educated and have a good work ethic, you can come out here and still make six figures.”

For the full story, see:

Clifford Krauss. “Boom Times and Fresh Starts.” The New York Times (Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019): B1 & B4.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Sept. 10, 2019, and has the title “‘This Is the Most Lonesome Job’: Ride With a ‘Hot Shot’ Trucker in Oil-Rich Texas.” The online version highlights photographs by Tamir Kalifa. The online and print versions have significant differences in wording and ordering. Where there are differences, the passages quoted above, follow the print version.)

Firms Moving from Silicon Valley to Texas

(p. A3) SAN FRANCISCO–California’s economy is adding jobs far faster than affordable places to live, forcing some employers to leave the state as they expand.
. . .
Karen Holian, 44 years old, joined the startup Lottery.com when it was founded here in 2015. Though a San Francisco native, Ms. Holian, a marketing manager, was excited when the company last year moved to Austin, Texas, because she could finally plan to buy a home.
“In San Francisco, that never seemed like a possibility,” she said. A mother of two, she is for now renting a four-bedroom house for $2,000 a month, a third of what a comparable place costs in her hometown.
Lottery.com CEO Tony DiMatteo said that as the company grew, he found it difficult to persuade current and prospective employees to move to the area. “We can give them a much better bang for their buck if we’re not in San Francisco,” he said.
. . .
Carl Guardino, chief executive of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, said CEOs tell him “that any new job that doesn’t absolutely need to be in the Bay Area is located outside of the Bay Area.” The public-policy advisory group counts some 360 companies, including Silicon Valley’s largest, as members.
. . .
Texas has drawn more companies leaving California over the past decade than any other state, according to research by Joe Vranich, a relocation consultant who encourages businesses to leave California.
Housing costs are “a major selling point for us,” said Mike Rosa, senior vice president of economic development for the Dallas Regional Chamber. “It’s a factor in just about every [relocation] search we see.”

For the full story, see:
Nour Malas. “Firms Quit California Over Costs.” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, March 20, 2019): A3.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added; bracketed word, in original.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date March 19, 2019, and has the title “California Has the Jobs but Not Enough Homes.” The sentence quoting Karen Holian appeared in the online, but not the print, version.)