An interesting trend has emerged in the state of Idaho, as California’s public retirees are flocking to the state with their pension funds, according to a recent report from the Los Angeles Times. This movement has been highly beneficial for the town of Eagle, Idaho, which has seen an influx of these retirees becoming a financial “lifeblood” for the community.
This has raised a few eyebrows and ruffled some feathers among the locals, especially those who identify as conservative. These new residents may have left a liberal state, but they bring with them significant financial “baggage” in the form of their large pensions. This has caused some tension with the old guard, who view them as “socialist” despite their claims of being Republicans.
The clash between the old and new residents is most evident in the recent mayoral election, where two Californian transplants faced off against each other. The key issue at hand was which candidate was the “least Californian.” This highlights the underlying tension between the traditional values of the community and the influence of newcomers.
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Former mayor of Eagle, Jason Pierce, who arrived in Idaho over 20 years ago without a public pension, lost the election to a recent arrival with a six-figure pension from their time as a California firefighter captain. Pierce expressed his concern over the “ludicrous” nature of these new residents calling themselves Republicans while advocating for increased government involvement and benefits for public employees.
“You find a lot of Californians who move here don’t realize how much [liberal] baggage they’re bringing with them,” Pierce said.
“They want to give the same kind of benefits to officers and state employees here,” Pierce told the outlet. “And it’s like, ‘Wait a minute, you literally created a huge deficit in California, and now you want to do the same thing here?’”
“Californians have been programmed in a way that they think they’re conservative, but then they move to a place like Eagle, Idaho, and they start asking for the same things that the government was providing them in California,” Pierce said.
“Honestly, they don’t even realize what they’re doing, but you have to kind of go, ‘Wait a minute, so you want your taxes to go up?’ Oh, I’d be willing to pay a little bit more, and it’s like, wait a minute, you just left all this.”
The mayor-elect of Eagle, Brad Pike, who came to Idaho with a $123,000 pension, sees himself as a lifelong Republican finally able to “exhale” and “relax” in a conservative state. However, Pierce argues that there is a significant difference between what qualifies as a Republican in California and Idaho. The clash of values and priorities becomes apparent when discussing hot-button issues like taxes and gun rights.
This phenomenon has raised questions about the definition of conservatism and the influence of California values in a state like Idaho. Pierce believes that many of the retirees do not understand the impact of their actions and are unaware of the “liberal baggage” they bring with them.
According to a report by MyEListing.com, California has seen a massive decline in population in 2020 due to strict lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, with well over half a million residents leaving the state. This has also led to a significant loss in tax revenue for the state.
The concern is that the influx of Californians may have a similar effect on Idaho as seen in the documentary “Rocky Mountain Heist,” which explores how Colorado turned from a red state to a blue state. Pierce worries that without the residents taking the time to understand the community and its values, they may unknowingly import their liberal ideals and change the state’s political landscape.