Report: tech companies losing interest in Texas

Originally published at: Report: tech companies losing interest in Texas | Boing Boing


Wow, if I didn’t know any better, I’d almost think all those stories about California being a shithole and states like Texas and Florida being Gardens of Eden were bullshit.


This is an anecdotal report, based on two company’s decisions.

I betcha there were two or more companies that left California in the same period, and someone could just as easily write a report that tech companies are leaving California.


Deregulation and no state income and corporate taxes and anti-union laws are attractive to the psychopathic corporate “person” and its c-suite executives, to be sure. However, there remains the matter of the pesky employees, especially the creative-class ones who work for tech companies.

Those workers tend to want liberal social policies, competent state governance, and housing and property taxes in vibrant and diverse and desirable cities that are significantly cheaper than those in California. Texas currently offers none of those things in comparison.

More than two companies are mentioned in the article as leaving or considering leaving, including a startup accelerator that’s pulling 15 programmes from Texas. I’m sure some tech CEOs are still considering moving from CA to TX, but they’re going to run into the same issues described in the article.


Headline here says “Texas”. Article is about “Austin”.

And it’s not wrong. But it’s not right, either.

Businesses move here because of the business-friendly environment. Low taxes, etc.

But people do not move to places for the reasons that businesses do. They’re looking for more quality of life stuff. Lower real estate prices compared to California, for example.

And while some QoL issues have always been there (no real mass transit, weather), some have only started to show up in the last few years. Power grid. Heat waves. And lately, a lunatic state government that cares more about owning the libs and lining the pockets of its donors than it does about improving the lives of its constituents.

So some people are leaving. I’m not sure it qualifies as an actual trend yet - it’s still in the anecdote stage. We’re moving to the PNW. The final straw was not wanting to live in a place that would force our daughters to bear their rapists’ babies. We have a friend that has also moved out of state. Like I said, anecdotes. And there are still people moving in.


Yeah i think no matter what Austin will be a desirable market for folks, maybe it’ll slow down some but i doubt that it’ll just stop or reverse.


I don’t remember if I saw this here or at Balloon Juice. Apologies if I’m repeating something you’ve seen before. This is one of the best analyses of the South that I’ve seen, and I think it fits this post. The Cannibal South - by Hamilton Nolan - How Things Work


Tech workers (not techbro founders) are a diverse, liberal group. Selling them in moving to Texas in the current political climate there will be a hard pass for the vast, vast majority of them.


There’s also an economic disincentive against the employee choosing to move, because everyone in the industry knows that a move to Texas will immediately result in management saying “well, you can’t expect to be paid a Silicon Valley salary if you’re living and working in Austin”.

So suddenly the employee is being asked to take a 10%-plus cut in pay to move to a place with an effective cost of living that hasn’t changed all that much.

There’s also the trauma of moving and the very real possibility of leaving behind one’s family and friends support network. All before we get to the other issues.


“this current sloshing of America towards its drain…” :smile: :thinking:


It’s not just the tech world–education and health workers are not far behind. Anecdotally, one of our editors was working remotely from Austin during the pandemic, because it seemed like a good idea at the time, and his partner got a good uni gig. But now they’re definitely looking to get out.


There certainly is a “grass is always greener” thing going on. Every state has their own issues and if there WAS a Garden of Eden state, it would be promptly filled up by assholes.

Texas’ current struggles with authoritarian conservatives and the bad laws they are making are definitely one thing to consider moving there. Another, IMO, is huge urban sprawl and it if you are in one of the big cities it just sucks to get around. So many people on the roads. (took trip to San Antonio this summer. Wowsa.)

California and Florida both have their problems too. I have friends that lived in San Diego and OMG the cost of living is insane. I remember my grandpa looking up his old house in the 90s that he lived in when stationed in San Francisco, and the simple ranch style was half a million dollars in the mid 90s! I am sure it is way more than that now.

People are sleeping on the Midwest. Though the housing market sucks everywhere, it isn’t as bad. Have actual winters is nice, though the humidity in the summer suuucckkks.


Primarily, it’s the lunatic and vindictive state government. They still push for things that are economically business-friendly, but employee hostile. And they’re proud of it. (But the real estate market is definitely broken.)


Yep, this is why we wouldn’t move at this point. Both my and my partner’s elderly moms are nearby and they sometimes need help. Our roots have firmly grown here. Thing I worry about is that our kids, all on the cusp of adulthood, won’t be able to afford it without our help.


They absolutely won’t. The generations before your kids, and even before me, have taken and taken so much that the costs to move to a safe spot are enormous. They will need your help, and if there are endangered or marginalized people in that group, they will need it sooner than later. It sucks. It sucks a lot.


There are other things happening … delayed expansion, deciding to put the new business units in states with less hostile policies, hard to recruit, loss of experienced employees.

My SO’s son declined a transfer to Texas because he and his wife are actively making babies, and the thought of a pregnancy emergency in Texas scared the heck out of them.


Parks And Recreation Gasp GIF by NBC


Excuse Me Reaction GIF by One Chicago


And many have, for months and months now.

The thing is, it turns out that’s not especially true.


Same. After international moves, previously, being a local techworker just makes me frustrated. Jobs are harder here lately, and if I move somewhere else, I’m still a single-income with no safety net. All of our family’s here and it’d be too much to be able to travel back with any consistency.

I still greatly enjoy much of Austin (and generally avoid spaces where the rich folks are involved, anyways), but the state government gleefully trying to ruin things is a huge damper. Obviously, the two biggest horsemen are the anti-LGBT pushes and abortion access, but I think that the dedication to destroying the public education system deserves an honorable mention.