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Ed Driscoll

I knew when I photoshopped Democrat “D” buttons onto the suits of the Vercotti brothers, Monty Python’s resident mafiosos back in 2010, I’d get a fair amount of mileage out of the image. At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey spots California in full “nice business ya have there — wouldn’t want anything to happen to it” mode, as he puts it.

Under the headline of “California lawmaker threatening Microsoft over … loss of Sacramento Kings?”, Ed links to this recent Sacramento Bee article:

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is not backing down from a request for information about Microsoft’s dealings with California, a gesture that many interpreted as a warning to prospective Sacramento Kings buyer and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

After reports emerged that Ballmer was one of the investors seeking to purchase the Kings and relocate them to Seattle, Steinberg sent a letter to the Department of General Services asking for data about California’s contracts with Microsoft and the monetary value of the state’s past purchases from the technology giant.

Steinberg faced criticism from those who said he was unfairly bullying Ballmer and endangering a lucrative partnership. But Steinberg defended his move on Thursday as a service to constituents and said he would press on.

“There’s something that doesn’t feel right about making money working directly with the state of California – in fact, having some of their largest contracts with the state of California – and at the same time using at least some of those gains or profits to try to move a major asset out of the state of California in its capital city,” Steinberg said after emerging from a closed-door meeting about the Kings with Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson and other lawmakers on Thursday.

(Oh and name that party — the Bee didn’t bother to.)

Ed responds:

It takes quite a bit to generate sympathy for Microsoft, but this qualifies.  Using the power of the state to interfere with a private sale — and one based in large part on the ridiculous policies championed by politicians like Steinberg himself — makes it clear that California isn’t in the governing business any longer.  They’re running a protection racket.

No wonder so many high-earners are fleeing the state, whether en masse as one NBA team is threatening to do, or individually. As Jim Pettit writes at National Review, golfer Phil Mickelson is “far from alone in seeking a place with lower taxes.”

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