Is it a harbinger of the November elections? A new study from the Tax Foundation finds that more and more people are voting on the tax issue with their feet. While liberal talking heads tell us that the American people want the government to get bigger and take care of more of our problems, more and more people are choosing to leave high-tax states for the refuge of lower tax states. One example the Tax Foundation cites is the migration of New Yorkers to Florida. This has almost become a stereotype over the years, and one could blame much of the move on the favorable Florida climate. However, in the last few years that migration has accelerated beyond what can simply be explained away as snowbirds escaping the harsh New York winters.
Between 2009 and 2010, some 40,000 New Yorkers flew permanently south to Florida taking about $1.3 billion in income with them. New York’s state income tax is as high as 8.82 percent. Florida has no state income tax. The state portion of the gas tax in New York is 49 cents a gallon. Cigarettes are taxed at $4.35 per pack with an additional $1.50 if you live in New York City. New York also levies an estate tax, which Florida does not.
But New York isn’t the only high-tax state people are fleeing. Californians left the state for Texas to the tune of over a half-million in the last decade, taking with them $14.3 billion in income. Texas has neither a state income tax nor an estate tax. And the story is repeated across the country. High-tax states are losing residents to low-tax states.
Granted, not all migration can be attributed to taxes. There are many other factors, but issues like jobs, which take people with them when they leave one state for another, are directly affected by high taxes. High taxes create a hostile environment for business and businesses leave as a result, taking blue- and white-collar workers with them.
The same thing goes for cities. Detroit’s population is down 60 percent since 1950, no doubt due to the huge shifts in the auto industry, but there seems to be another determining factor. A quick look at the states and cities from which people are running shows a common denominator. States and cities run by liberals tend to have higher taxes. States and cities run by conservatives tend to have lower taxes. People are flocking to lower-taxed areas, the reason being that the people who make a city work also have the means to move when it stops working. They tend to flee from liberal policies that penalize the producers and reward the non-producers.
The question remains, when and if that will morph from state-to-state migration into a country-to-country migration. There are few if any statistics on that, but several of my friends have applied for dual citizenship in other countries. That’s the first time in my lifetime that I can recall that happening.
Some may say it’s hysterics, but I believe these friends are much more pragmatic. Even with friends who haven’t applied for citizenship in another country I’m having conversations for the first time about which countries we would live in if we left the United States. Several of these conversations have been with doctors who see the handwriting on the wall with Obamacare. If it’s left intact then many of them see their practices going down the tubes.
Maybe it’s just me, but perhaps it’s time to change course before people starting looking for ways to escape from the United States.