Despite a dwindling population and a budget deficit of nearly $32 billion, Gov. Gavin Newsom is telling Americans "not to count out" the state of California.
During an exclusive interview on "Hannity" Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom made his case for why the state saw a dramatic drop in its population during 2021 and 2022, and why it is underperforming compared to Florida.
"Per capita, more Floridians move to California than California is moving to Florida," Newsom said when challenged on his state’s declining population.
The governor stated that 18 states across the country saw a dip in their population as California’s decline hovered over 0.3%, a first for the state.
California lost 117,552 people between Jan. 1, 2021 and Jan. 1, 2022, according to the state's Department of Finance, bringing its population back to where it was in 2016.
In 2022, Florida saw the biggest rush of new residents migrating from predominantly blue states with steep taxes, with about 319,000 Americans making the move there, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. That amounts to a population increase of nearly 2% – well above the 0.4% national growth rate recorded in the U.S. between July 2021 and July 2022.
"We create more companies every single day, more millionaires."
California attributed its population slump to reduced births, immigration, an increase in deaths and people moving to other states.
But one complaint that seems to stick around the Golden State is its high cost of living.
California’s state income tax currently sits at 13.3% with the top 1% of Californians paying roughly half of the state’s bill, whereas Florida doesn’t have a state individual income tax.
"Here’s my point. We’ve had a progressive tax, but I didn’t establish the 13.3%, that was done before I even got here. I have opposed new increases in the top 1% tax. I opposed the statewide wealth tax. I’ve never been a profligate Democrat," Newsom said in response.
"The American people don’t know this. We have the highest tax rate for the 1%. But middle-class families actually pay less than the majority of states in America in California," Newsom continued.
When asked about major companies abandoning the state, Gov. Newsom called it "insignificant" and "inconsequential."
"We create more companies every single day, more millionaires," he told Hannity.
"One-half of America’s $1 billion valued companies are in the state of California. This state economy has outperformed the nation 3.1% in the last decade, 2.1% nationwide. I’ve been hearing this nonsense for half a century, literally half a century," Newsom stressed.
The governor went on to tout California’s economic success, calling it the "temple" of the U.S. as the state is well on its way to becoming the fourth-largest economy in the world.
"In 2021, California, 7.8% of GDP growth in this country, one of the fastest growing economies anywhere on planet Earth. This state continues to be the temple of the American economy," he said adding that "25.6% of all American jobs came from this state in April [and] in the last two fiscal years we enjoyed $177.7 billion in operating surpluses."
Despite the slew of criticisms California receives, Gov. Newsom urged Americans to remain open about its opportunities.
"I love this state," Newsom proclaimed. "Don’t count us out."
FOX Business’ Kristen Altus and Landon Mion contributed to this report