How bad has it gotten in the erstwhile Golden State? Consider:
• Some 2.3 million Californians are without jobs, for a 12.4% unemployment rate — one of the highest in the country.
• From 2001 to 2010, factory jobs plummeted from 1.87 million to 1.23 million — a loss of 34% of the state's industrial base. Ask any company, and it'll tell you the same thing: It's now almost impossible to build a big factory in California.
• With just 12% of the U.S. population, California has almost a third of the nation's welfare recipients. Some joke the state motto should be changed from "The Golden State" to "The Welfare State." Meanwhile, 15.3% of all Californians live in poverty.
• The state budget gap for 2009-10 was $45.5 billion, or 53% of total state spending — the largest in any state's history.
• The state's sales tax is the nation's highest, and its income tax the third-highest, the BusinessInsider.com Web site recently noted. Meanwhile, the Tax Foundation's "State Business Tax Climate Index" ranks California 48th.
• In a ranking by corporate relocation expert Ronald Pollina of the 50 states based on 31 factors for job creation, California finished dead last.
• In another ranking, this one by the Beacon Hill Institute on state competitiveness, California came in 32nd — down seven spots in just one year.
• California is home to 25% of America's 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants. A 2004 study estimated that illegals cost the state's citizens $10.5 billion a year — roughly $1,200 per family.
• Unfunded pension liabilities for California's state and public employees may be as much as $500 billion — roughly 17% of the nation's total $3 trillion at the state and local level
Even Democratic candidate Jenny Oropeza, who died two weeks ago, still managed to defeat live Republican John Stammreich in a race for a state Senate seat.
But the real political problem lies in Sacramento, the state capital, which is run not so much by politicians as by the unions they've sold out to — state employees, nurses, teachers and prison guards.
Voters also approved a new measure requiring a simple legislative majority to approve a state budget. It previously took two-thirds, giving Republicans far more leverage. Democrats, in other words, will now find it even easier to spend money they don't have.
So far this year, thanks to California's unfriendly political environment, strict regulations and high taxes, 32 companies have announced they'll either expand elsewhere, move or shut down operations, according to the California Manufacturers & Technology Association.
California was once like Texas, but lost its way. Today, when comparisons are made, California is most often compared to Greece — another idyllic place with a sunny, Mediterranean climate on the verge of bankruptcy.
In the end, only the voters of California can change things. But on Tuesday, they opted for more of the same governance that will only make conditions worse.