A Lender’s View of Today’s California

The California State Capitol in Sacramento at Night

My jaunt to Napa for the International Factoring Association conference reminded me of a few things.

1. Napa, like much of California, is gorgeous.

2. For the most part, people are laid back and friendly.

3. Food and wine (assuming you can afford either) are delicious. 

And unfortunately…

4. I won’t be doing business there anytime soon.

Keep reading if you dare, and I’ll tell you why.

On the Soapbox

​​​​Between California’s notorious AB 5 law, a travesty that all but nuked the gig economy until the state legislature peppered it with exemptions, and the equally ludicrous SB 1235, Gavin Newsome’s message for lenders, freelancers, and out-of-state business folk is clear enough—we don’t want you here.

Look, I get it. If you’re not from here, don’t surf here, right?

Whether it’s traffic, wildfires, batshit zoning laws that brought the cost of a San Francisco toilet to $1.7 million, or getting your tires slashed by a local surf troll, every paradise breeds its own way of keeping the tourists out.  But that’s not the same as shooting yourself in the foot…and then reloading to do it again.

Golden State Joe

It’s so sad and ridiculous that you really have to wonder.

What kind of a state punishes productive, law-abiding people for shits and giggles? What kind of leadership squashes every opportunity it sees while raising taxes, spreading red tape like frosting, and letting infrastructure fall apart? If there’s some kind of trophy for making life so unlivable that 300,000 people pack the U-Haul in a single year, California’s won it. 

Thanks to SB 1235, your average Golden State Joe won’t be seeing an asset-based loan for his business anytime soon… and he’ll add that to the other pipe dreams—a house he can afford, water for his lawn, a safe street or neighborhood, and a new, gas-powered, car, stove, or lawnmower.

Like everyone else, I’m shaking my head.   It’s hard not to shrug and say ‘you get what you vote for.’ Believe me, it’s even harder not to talk shit on the clueless Californians arriving in swarms to ruin (insert state here) like locusts. But when the little guy’s in trouble—and when he’s outnumbered by lunatics in a bellwether state—we’re all in trouble to some degree.

Classic Problem

In Homer’s Odyssey, the hero comes across the Lotus eaters—a mythic, carefree race who live on an island and grub on narcotic lotus buds all day. When it’s time to leave, Odysseus has to drag his men away (they’ve forgotten home and family) with his bare hands.   It’s sad to see the unique temptations of a utopian, imagination-stirring place prove just as deadly.

As historian and Central Valley farmer Victor Davis Hansen points out, California was once a world-class model of growth, risk, innovation, infrastructure… and not that long ago, business opportunity. Hansen’s take is that progressive idealism, combined with tech wealth and geographic isolation, led to a problem. Those on the wealthy, temperate, coastal corridor learned they can lob their green, aggressive, freedom-destroying policies inland (on everyone else)…with no reality check.

Run that play a dozen times and see what happens.   What hero learns his lesson if he never meets the two-by-four?

Still… it’s all in the Journey

Having written all this, I’m not throwing out Dare’s California business license just yet. If hope springs eternal, we can trace it back to the hero’s journey… and remember that old patterns of risk, success, overindulgence, and fall of Rome come in a wash cycle.

Politics aside, those who want a loan or a white label should be able to get one—without red tape. If they take it with avocado on toast, well… who are we to judge?  If the freedom that only comes with responsibility sounds like your cup of tea, then give us a call sometime. If you need working capital, we might be the guide you’re looking for.

Until next time,


Cole Harmonson | Co-founder + CEO
p: 512-886-DARE
m: 512-657-4253
f: 512-886-3270
APPLY ONLINE: get started
SIGN UP FOR NEWSLETTER: http://bit.ly/darecapitalnewsletter