Paul L. Caron

Monday, December 27, 2010

Some States Are Taxing Themselves to Death

Following up on last week's post: Census Data -- Population Flocks to States Without an Income Tax: New York Post, States Taxing Themselves to Death, by Dick Morris:

NY Post High taxes kill states. There can be no better evidence than the 2010 Census. The states that lost House seats -- because they're shrinking, relative to the nation -- had taxes 27% higher than the ones that gained seats.

Of the seven states that don't have a personal income tax, four (Texas, Florida, Nevada and Washington) account for eight of the 12 seats apportioned to the fastest-growing states.

New York and Ohio lost two more seats. Other losers -- down one each -- are Massachusetts, Missouri, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana and Iowa. What do they all have in common? High taxes. ...

The states that lost seats ranked an average of 24th in taxes and had an average tax burden of $2,267 per capita. ... The states that gained seats ranked an average of 39th in taxes and had an average tax burden (weighted) of $1,788 -- 27% lower than the losing states. ...

The trend is unmistakeable: The "losing" states drove out their high-income citizens (and middle-income jobs) with heavier tax burdens.

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While this is not a case for causation it does create a correlation. Correlation is one of the first things you look at in creating a thesis. Can you prove that it is not higher taxes that are making people move out of states? Of course not there is not enough data to support a rejection of the thesis either. However all that can be said is a correlation not a causation at this point. So far the other postulations I have seen are the cold, and industry moving ( which little industry growth is occurring any way )

Posted by: Innocent | Dec 29, 2010 1:55:15 PM

There seems to be a recurring theme/excuse here ... people are moving for nicer weather/climates not just taxes. I disagree, but can only cite my own personel example. I moved 2-1/2 years ago from Massachusetts to North Dakota; taxes are about $1000 less a year and the weather is by far more colder and harsher in ND. What did change was my cost of living - and this consists of state fees and taxes that are not associated with income. My yearly water/sewer/garbage bill was about $4500, now it's $500. I had an excise tax on all my vehicles (2 cars, a motorcycle and a boat) of approx. $2000 per year that no longer exists. I paid about $1400 a year in toll roads that were in poor shape - not a single toll road in ND and the roads are in great shape. My utility bills are about half now.
My income stayed the same (I'm an engineer) so all this equates to about $200 more per week disposable income! I just wish I moved away many years earlier!!!

Posted by: Bob Rafferty | Dec 28, 2010 9:33:18 AM

An astonishing coincidence? Eight out of 10 of the US states losing House seats are forced-unionism states. Nine out of 10 of the states gaining representation have right-to-work laws.

Posted by: Brendon Carr | Dec 28, 2010 4:12:31 AM

According to this article in Investors Business Daily the US workforce is less likely to move now due to several reasons including (a) being stuck in under water homes, (b) being older and less flexible, (c) slow pace of job creation, (d) skills mismatch.

A chart at the link shows the domestic migration rate has been steadily declining since the 1950s.

Read the article for the details. It's not focused on comparing states with higher/lower taxes, just migration in general.

Posted by: binary tree | Dec 28, 2010 3:35:13 AM

Actively looking for a job in Austin, which will save me over $10,000 a year compared to the Bay Area (California) and with few down sides. (I live by the beach, but for $1000 a month, I can come visit regularly if need be, or visit a beach in the Bahamas for that matter.)

The Democrats here are bound and determined, working with their close partners, the public employee unions, to spend until there is nothing left. When the boomers start to retire in droves in another few years, the public employee pensions will bankrupt the state (they already have, but CA will be unable to actually make the payments it's already obligated to make today, by borrowing or otherwise, thanks to union deals with the Democratic Party politicians they paid to put in office).

I'm pretty liberal guy (thus looking for Austin rather than other places in TX), but after spending a few years working as a private contractor in public sector procurement, the waste I have seen absolutely shocks the conscience. The more money you give the government, the more it wants, the more it wastes, and the more destructive it is, it's a vicious circle.

Posted by: Jim In SF | Dec 28, 2010 3:11:10 AM

It depends on your priorities. Having lived in a super-conservative (emphasis on CONs!) Southern state, VA, after living up north in a now fiscally pained state, IL, I have to say there is a huge drop-off in the quality of people, quality of services, and as a result, in the quality of Life itself. I miss the convenience, reliability, and regulation of many things that can affect you everyday... Well, that's just my honest experience! (I also think IL goes too far to fund too many things, but at least they care about their citizens!) Down here, it's like the Third World by comparison--anything goes...or maybe I was spoiled in IL? IL just seemed so much more modern, efficient, and they had reliable standards. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but it makes for a big difference. And my cost of living in the Midwest was much lower actually!...The weather is more dreary though.

Posted by: Shasta | Dec 27, 2010 10:08:49 PM

Any idiot can find one variable to support their supposition, but you would think a professor would carefully examine all variables for significant correlations. Next time walk over to the math department and ask for statistical help. Lawyers; who needs them.


Posted by: Mark Snider | Dec 27, 2010 7:54:00 PM

Those of you who are so quick to think this is baloney because no one moves just to save a few hundred in taxes are missing the point. The states with a lower tax burden are more business-friendly. That means that corporations move their business there, which means more jobs are created there, which means more people end up transferring there. It's not just about saving on personal income tax. And not only are people transferring because new jobs open up in those states, it's because the loser states are LOSING jobs, leaving them no where to turn to find a job. That is precisely what happened to my husband and is the reason we moved.

Posted by: renea | Dec 27, 2010 4:45:46 PM

I think there is more to the story, at least here in the Northeast.
Our cities were built for Industry.
Paterson, Hartford, Philadelphia,Syracuse, name any town in the Northeast and the story is the same...
Much of that manufacturing has been outsourced to the lowest cost producers such as India and China.
That leaves behind people with skills (manufacturing) with no manufacturing jobs.
Add to that heavy state,local and Federal regulations and it is easy to see why we have suffered a decline as Industry has been driven out or has gone overseas.
We have lost industries and all the tax and other revenues they provided thru real estate tax, corporate tax and the jobs they provided produced "income tax" and sales tax as their workers bought things.
Those former workers are now net recipients of state and federal aid, or they have migrated to state,local,federal jobs.
So...we lost revenue producing entities and replaced them with social recipients or governmental workers, both largely dependent on taxpayers.
The challenge going forward for many states is going to be how to reverse that...
How to get people off assistance and out of Governmental jobs and back into being self sufficient revenue producers.
That would lower the size of governemnet and increase revenues as more people worked in the vastly more productive private sector actually making things and delivering services.
Perhaps we can set up aggressive enterprise zones in our cities with bare bone real estate and corporate tax as a 1st step and develop grass roots business to emply our lower skilled folks.
Have an Apple manufacturing facility in Paterson NJ, in Syracuse NY instead of in China
Give these manufacturers massive corporate and real estate tax breaks so they can employ our US citizens and get them off public assistance. what do we have to lose? These cities have abandoned buildings all over the place currently paying no taxes anyway. What;s the difference if they don;t receive taxes from businesses that are bankrupt employing NO ONE, or they give an APPLE tax breaks so they can employ MANY?
isn;t that a better alternative?
If we don't do 'something" to add taxpayers and reduce tax recipients, I am afraid we will continue this spiral.
It's that simple...and that difficult I am afraid

Posted by: Don | Dec 27, 2010 3:28:52 PM

At #34, Louisiana doesn't have a high per-capita state burden. Iowa is even lower at #38. Missouri comes in at #45!

I wonder how much of Louisiana's population decrease was due to the lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Posted by: Larry J | Dec 27, 2010 2:16:18 PM

Governor Perry sums up the Texas model in five words: "Don't spend all the money." Here's what a good long run of small-government, low-tax conservatism has achieved in Texas: Once a largely agricultural state, Texas today is home to 6 of the 25 largest cities in the country, more than any other state. Texas has a trillion-dollar economy that would make it the 15th-largest national economy in the world if it were, as some of its more spirited partisans sometimes idly suggest it should be, an independent country. By one estimate, 70 percent of the new jobs that were created in the United States in 2008 were created in Texas. Texas is home to America's highest-volume port, the largest medical center in the world, and the headquarters of more Fortune 500 companies than any other state, having surpassed New York in 2008. While the Rust Belt mourns the loss of manufacturing jobs, Texans are building Bell helicopters and Lockheed Martin airplanes, Dell computers and TI semiconductors. Always keeping an eye on California, Texans have started bottling wine and making movies. And there's still an automobile industry in America, but it's not headquartered in Detroit: A couple thousand Texans are employed building Toyotas, and none of them is a UAW member.

There are those who would look at this and say, "Not bad for a state with no income tax and a part-time legislature that meets only every two years." And there are those who would say, "You could only accomplish this in a state with no income tax and a part-time legislature that meets only every two years." Texas's formula for success is classical conservatism: Low spending enables low taxes, while a liberal regulatory environment attracts the capital that makes capitalism work. Texas has a state government that is structurally incapable of taking on the grand political ambitions that characterize states such as California and New York, which leaves the private sector with a relatively open theater of operation. With conservatives at the national level looking to the states for models of what works, Texas can provide a blueprint for a prudent and bipartisan conservatism that is neither hostage to ideological excess nor relegated to merely trying to put Leviathan on a leash.

For the second year in a row, Texas' five major metropolitan areas nailed down half the top 10 spots in an annual ranking of the best cities to find a job.

"If you look at all the regions, nothing else does as well as Texas," said Michael Shires, a professor at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy in Malibu, Calif., who compiled the rankings with Joel Kotkin, a distinguished presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. The report was published Wednesday by

Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos once again led the list of large cities. Rounding out the Texas quintet are San Antonio-New Braunfels (No. 2), Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown (No. 3), Dallas-Plano-Irving (No. 5) and Fort Worth-Arlington (No. 7).

On the list for medium-sized cities were El Paso (No. 5), McAllen-Mission-Edinburg (No. 6) and Corpus Christi (No.7). Among the top small cities were College Station-Bryan (No. 3) and Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood (No. 4).

On several measures of economic stress, Texas is doing quite well. The state unemployment rate is 8.2 percent—high, but still one many states would envy. (California's is 12.5 percent; Michigan's is 14.1 percent.) It entered recession later than the rest of the country—Texas was adding jobs through August 2008—and started slowly adding jobs again last fall, thanks mostly to its great position in the largely recession-proof energy industry.

The Texas housing market also has fared better than many. The mortgage delinquency rate (the portion of borrowers three months behind on payments) is 5.78 percent, compared with 8.78 nationwide, according to First American CoreLogic. That's partly because relaxed zoning codes and abundant land kept both price appreciation and speculation down. "House prices didn't experience a bubble in the same way as the rest of the nation," said Anil Kumar, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. But it's also because of two attributes not commonly associated with the Longhorn State: financial restraint and comparatively strong regulation. Unlike many of its neighbors, Texas has state laws that prohibited consumers from using home-equity lines of credit to increase borrowing to more than 80 percent of the value of their homes. The upshot: Dallas housing prices have fallen only 7 percent from their 2007 peak, according to the Case-Shiller index.

As a 5th generation Texan I would like to extend a welcome hand to all those folks looking for a little relief. Just leave your liberal ideas at the state line.

Posted by: Ed M | Dec 27, 2010 12:56:46 PM

If apportionment were restricted to Citizens, or perhaps also including Resident Immigrants, it would be interesting to see if - or how many - seats in Congress CA would have lost?
But, it must have been a shock to the Golden State pols that this was the first reapportionment that did not increase CA's representation in a very, very long time.
It seems the trend line has been broken.

Posted by: AD | Dec 27, 2010 12:39:55 PM

I am not sure what Mr. Morris was thinking when he added Washington State to his states of lower taxes. The figure he used was no doubt altered like the "stimulus jobs" that were created here. I have on record for the year 2010 spent $4019.00 in state and local taxes. Not bad for a single guy on low income. Yeah right!!
Love them Democrats!!

Posted by: JonDix | Dec 27, 2010 12:28:08 PM

my real estate has over double and soon as my motther dies i moving south where its warm and a state has the right to work no more union sstates!

Posted by: jerry silovich | Dec 27, 2010 12:18:06 PM

$500 a year doesn't cause someone to move, but $500 a year is not the actual difference. Per capita statistics include children in the divisor, as well as other non-taxpayers. Furthermore, they are averages, but we would expect people who are fleeing high taxes to have much higher income and much more wealth than the average, as it is these who are targeted by the high tax rates.

Posted by: myth buster | Dec 27, 2010 12:11:17 PM

To correlation/causation questioners, I can't answer except with my own story. I definitely moved from northern VA to north FL in May 2009 because of the lower cost of living. My employer only required that I live in EST zone and near a large airport. I had been living in a dated/aging/tired condo just inside the beltway in DC area. I now have a MUCH nicer house that I purchased for significantly LESS money than what my condo sold for, no state income tax, about the same or lower sales tax, lower property taxes & lower prices at the the grocery store and gas pump and no car safety/emission inspections and no ghastly commute on I495. The only big increase has been insurance. Florida is a "no fault" state, so my car insurance bounced up about $150 more a year than what I was paying in Virginia and my home insurance jumped up about $300 more than what I was paying in Virginia to cover insurance for those fools who insist on buying houses on the beach &/or barrier islands. Electricity & other utilities have been about the same. I spend less on heating my place in the winter but more to cool it in the spring/summer/fall.

Posted by: LWms | Dec 27, 2010 12:09:32 PM

I believe you're refering to the supposed merger of "equals" in the Nations Bank/Bank of America deal. A funny thing happened, the ex-marine McColl, and his Lieutenants made a huge power play and squashed all the PHD beta male executives of BofA in San Francisco.

Posted by: Barry Soetoro | Dec 27, 2010 12:08:44 PM

lower taxes also affects a business's decision on where to locate and/or expand.

people may or may not relocate over less taxes (income, property, sales, etc.), they will definitely relocate over a job.

i believe this is where high tax states are shooting themselves in the foot.

Posted by: not_bubarooni | Dec 27, 2010 11:32:57 AM

The weather (cold versus warm) is a non-factor, because all the states losing population are liberal/leftist; thus, the people moving (in accordance with their religious global warming beliefs)think it is much warmer now than it has been in their lifetimes. Leftists move because they are hypocrites--every one of them. They preach leftism/liberalism and ever-expanding government then move to avoid paying for what they espouse.

Posted by: FrancisChalk | Dec 27, 2010 11:32:35 AM

My husband lost his job 2 years ago in NY. We moved to Ga. I was a teacher there with great pay. I teach here now and earn less but he earns the same. There aren't as many services here as up north but our taxes are over 5k less. The sales tax is lower, the electric bill is our only bill and it is lower than just our electric bill in NY. You can find good schools here but you can find failing ones too, you gotta do your research. I wouldn't move back to that tax burden NY again in this lifetime. NY will keep taxing because of the unions and eventually have to pay the piper. My question is when will that be?

Posted by: jen | Dec 27, 2010 11:30:44 AM

Most of the losing states have an entrenched and corrupt political class. People
who can, leave. Poorly performing school systems, a broken down infra-structure,
local community boards that are for sale, large numbers of people who pay no taxes
but demand services are greater incentives to relocate. The disease of Socialism
has pervaded the political and social scene of those states. As Margaret Thatcher
said about Socialism "after a while you run out of other people's money." People
don't move because of one reason (taxes) but many other reasons (climate, education, life style and foremost, jobs).

Posted by: PTL | Dec 27, 2010 11:29:50 AM

Many commenters are (probably willfully) missing a vital point: $500 to $1,000 in tax savings is probably not enough to get a person or family to move from New York to Texas.

However, if I employ 120 people and it costs me $60,000 a year less to be in Texas than New York AND the state government wants me to come there versus treating me as an open wallet AND I get a workforce less likely to unionize on me, AND I don't have to shovel snow, then it's really no contest.

You can whistle past the graveyard all you want, but at the end of the day, something is causing people to vote with their feet out of the Rust Belt, and it's probably not just the weather.

Posted by: Who Is Good Will? | Dec 27, 2010 11:06:40 AM

Baby boomer retirees? They go to warmer climates and don't bring any kids with them to be educated, thus relieving their new home states of that burden. Not saying that taxes are not a factor, but perhaps they are overstated.

Posted by: a. moral | Dec 27, 2010 11:04:53 AM

As for the weather, states cannot choose their weather, but their legislators DO choose a certain tax/spend policy.

Individuals will move around the nation for a variety of reasons. The choice of where to move to will likely factor in both weather and taxation. But other things (like weather) being equal, wage-earners will naturally choose a low tax state vs. a neighboring high tax state.

Since the tax policy is a choice of the legislators (reflecting the preferences of the voters) it's arguably driving out (or keeping out) high-income citizens.

Posted by: Marc | Dec 27, 2010 10:59:01 AM

Missourri and Louisiana are warmer than Utah and Washington.

Plus, the very coldest states (Maine, Vermont, NH, Minnnesota, etc.) did not lose people.

The idiot trying to rationalize high taxes is a socialist wuss.

Posted by: Eagle | Dec 27, 2010 10:40:16 AM

Steve C is on track. Does anyone know why Charlotte, NC exploded in the mid 80's? Several reasons. In the wake of the school bus decision Charlotte began to concentrate on three things: improving the schools, improving infrastructure and repairing urban blight. These things could no longer be ignored because now it affected the local leadership's children as well. They did this and still kept their taxes low.

At the same time taxes of _every sort_ were exploding in the NY Metro area. Not only was senior management paying a lot of taxes they were beginning to see recruitment as an issue...they had to pay far more then competitors in other areas to compensate for taxes and cost of living.

So large handful of financial services (insurance forex) moved to Charlotte and took their employees and cash. They put their money in the large regional bank there. They attracted ancillary service providers. And so on. All of this is documented. Although in BoD reports the raising cost to senior management is not _directly_ stated. In some it is called "retention issues".

Bonus Question: Anyone know the current name of that large regional bank?

Posted by: Quilly Mammoth | Dec 27, 2010 10:28:22 AM

I would not trust Dick Morris or the Post for any reason. If people are really moving for tax reasons, and some always have, than they must be pretty well off. There are a lot of reasons to move and taxes are just one of them. To draw broad, somewhat hysterical, conclusions from that data is typical of the author.

Posted by: George W | Dec 27, 2010 10:11:25 AM

I would simply ask anyone here if they were offered basically the same job in Texas or California would they factor in taxes in their decision ?
If not why not ?

I'm not saying you would ONLY use taxes as a criteria but it certainly would be a factor and a strong one in some cases. Look at what is happening to Oregon and their millionaires tax penalty ... the millionaires are disappearing ... i.e. moving away or shifting income ...

Posted by: Jeff | Dec 27, 2010 10:10:13 AM

Democrats drive the middle class to poverty, hoping that they will become foolish enough to become depended on Democrats for their salvation. An inexorably downward spiral.

Posted by: PacRim Jim | Dec 27, 2010 9:43:42 AM

There's a bigger pony hiding in this pile.

Who makes the decision about where to locate/relocate a corporation?

Senior managers who most likely qualify as being "rich" according to the politicians. Is it the sole decisive factor? Not likely, but I don't think anyone can doubt that the self interest of management plays a role.

Posted by: Steve C. | Dec 27, 2010 9:34:51 AM

We'd all like to think so, but correlation isn't causation. On the whole, it's colder in those 'high tax' states. Perhaps that is causing the migration.

You need a bit more data to support your thesis...

Posted by: Bill Johnson | Dec 27, 2010 9:33:37 AM

Are high tax cities/states in a "death spiral"? They have massive liabilities (debt/pension) incurred when their population and economic base were much larger. Their ability to meet these liabilities shrinks along with their shrinking population.

Posted by: masstexodus | Dec 27, 2010 9:30:59 AM

True, the losing states tend to be cold, but other cold states such as ND, SD and WY are on the winning side of things (though their smaller populations do not allow them to make the "gained a seat" chart).

One might suppose that the combination of nicer weather and lower taxes proved irresistible to the moneymakers.

Posted by: Michael (Constant Conservative) | Dec 27, 2010 9:28:17 AM

Not a perfect correlation - Washington & Nevada which are 4th & 5th highest in tax burden on the two lists combined both gained a seat. And Missouri -2nd lowest tax burden lost a seat.

Posted by: axel hose | Dec 27, 2010 9:25:06 AM

Yeah Dr., I hear those winters in Louisiana are brutal.

Posted by: njoriole | Dec 27, 2010 9:21:09 AM

This migration trend is also true of California except that the decline in economically productive citizens is masked by the increase of mostly economically non-productive immigrants.

Posted by: sammy 01 | Dec 27, 2010 9:16:21 AM

$500 per year, on average, less taxes leads someone to move?

That is some conclusion.

How about this? From the time people landed on Plymouth Rock until the 1970s, the northern states were the center of commerce. Large swaths of the southwest were not even states until after the Civil War. And the south was unlivable until the advent of air conditioning. So, no-one lived there. Moreover, until the 1950s, it was very difficult to move goods from places without navigable waters or railroad connections to market.

Now, industry is spreading out. The south is livable with air conditioning. The interstate highway system makes moving goods easy. And there is a lot of land compared to the northeast.

In other words, because of economic development in the last 40 years or so, population centers in the south and west are starting to grow.

When states in the south start having population density like the northeast corridor, perhaps then we could attribute the growth to something less essential than transportation and living conditions.

Posted by: Allan | Dec 27, 2010 9:14:13 AM

Read that in relation to this article

What the government giveth, it can taketh.

Posted by: Chris Bolts Sr | Dec 27, 2010 9:14:01 AM

RE: They are also very cold...
New Jersey and Missouri are not particularly cold. Louisiana lost due to Katrina, but it's interesting that much of the population that got displaced to Texas is in no hurry to return.

Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine are much colder, and they didn't lose seats.
Connecticut is quite cold, too (compared to, say, New Jersey).

The 2010 Census shows:
NH +6.9%
CT +4.9%
ME +4.2%
MA +3.1%
VT +2.8%

Posted by: kevino | Dec 27, 2010 9:10:07 AM

Paul, I think that taxes are one of several costs that cause people to move. In the 90s I moved from Kansas City to Dallas for a job. In addition to not having to deal with state income taxes, I also never have to shovel snow and icy roads only delay travel on a couple days a year. It's far from tropical here, but winter temperatures in the 40s with cold rain are much easier to deal with than winter temperatures in the 20s with snow accumulation.

Besides employment, family is probably the reason that people stay in a region. The majority of my family live in Oklahoma and Kansas, so attending family obligations only costs me an afternoon and part of a tank of gas, not airline tickets and TSA delays. The family travel cost of moving from New Orleans to Houston is similarly low and it shows in the lasting post-Katrina population shift.

Posted by: George B | Dec 27, 2010 9:09:12 AM

Louisiana is not cold. Corrupt, yes. Cold, no.

Posted by: Bob | Dec 27, 2010 9:03:02 AM

Louisiana and Missouri are very cold?

Posted by: bandit | Dec 27, 2010 8:56:50 AM

I will note that Missouri (my home state, and a house seat loser) has the second lowest per-capita state tax burden of any state in either column, behind only Texas.

Posted by: Hal Duston | Dec 27, 2010 8:51:16 AM much as I'd like to believe your conclusion, I'm not sure I can. As one that is contemplating such a move (I live in California and am considering a move to Utah) I'm very much interested in the topic. But....Missouri is a so-called loser but has a lower tax burden than all but one of the gainers and is lower than the average burden for the gainers. This would suggest people are leaving Missouri for other reasons. I reckon Louisiana is an anomaly due to Katrina, but if one looks at Ohio (-2) v Florida (+2) its hard for me to imagine people are making such an important life decision, especially high earners, over $189. I suspect a chart showing average temperatures might show an even higher correlation.

Posted by: Kevin | Dec 27, 2010 8:50:03 AM

Mr. (and I use the term loosely) Morris is a very funny guy. As they say, statistics don't lie, but liars use statistics. There are so many variables extant in this state-to-state comparison that it is entirely stupid. Try this--the states that are gaining population have relatively low population density, expecially Texas. As their population centers grow, they will require more of the stuff of which civilization is constructed--and those things require state government expenditures. Texas, Florida, Nevada, and Washington also share another common feature. All four have benefitted from federal water policy and largesse to an extreme degree. Let's see how Florida copes with its looming fresh water problems without a state income tax and without massive infusions of federal cash. Moreover, all of the states gaining population are federal tax negative. That is, they receive far more in federal tax dollars than their residents pay in federal taxes. This appears to be about to end. Conversely, the states that have not grown as quickly are federa tax positive, with their citizens contributing far more in federal taxes than those states receive. This is likely to reverse in coming years. Maybe then the rust belters can lower their state taxes.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Dec 27, 2010 8:47:20 AM

The blue staters flee to the red states then vote to raise taxes. And are humongous hypocrites because it's a badge of honor to pay high taxes. Except when it's not.

Posted by: Sandy P | Dec 27, 2010 8:41:51 AM

The problem is that the low tax states now attract the liberals from the bright blue states as well. They come to enjoy the more robust economies of States like Texas. But they also bring their expectations of the same sort of huge government they had in Massachusetts or New York. Like a plague of locusts they will leave ravaged the states they fled to in the 70's (New Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire)and move on to do the same to Texas and other prosperous states.

They'll do the same to Washington...leaving behind an economically barren California and Oregon. Liberals, many of them transplants, have destroyed one of the greatest economic engines in America, California, through Big Government and the onerous tax burden that comes with it.

High taxation is not the disease, it is a symptom. Sadly, many of the people moving to these low tax States are carriers of that illness.

Posted by: Quilly Mammoth | Dec 27, 2010 8:37:42 AM

The states are very cold, or the data? I found one source from 2006 that cited the Texas number of $1,434. Maybe it hasn't changed in five years.

Average per capita income of states losing seats: $45,237.

Average per capita income of states gaining seats: $40,839.

Obvious solution: Everyone in states losing seats should take a 10% pay cut.

Posted by: Bob | Dec 27, 2010 8:32:36 AM

Couldn't happen to a more deserving group of states on either side of that equation.

Posted by: MJN1957 | Dec 27, 2010 8:31:53 AM

The only reason that CA was not among the loser states is that we are such a magnet for tax-eaters. Taxpayers are leaving in droves, only to be replaced by tax consumers. Not enough net loss of population to lose congressional seats, but a huge net loss of tax revenues.

Posted by: PD Quig | Dec 27, 2010 8:30:50 AM

Net domestic migration tells the real story (doesn't count the effect of legal or illegal foreign immigrants). California has been losing its domestic middle-class population to lower-tax neighbors for a couple of decades now.

Posted by: Ayn Rand | Dec 27, 2010 8:28:45 AM

Also, colder states lost representatives; warmer ones gained. Therefore, cold temperatures drove people out of colder states. Correlation is not causation.

Posted by: Rob | Dec 27, 2010 8:28:33 AM

The data is self-evident. Common sense really. The real question is why do the high tax states persist in defiance of the obvious?

Posted by: cubanbob | Dec 27, 2010 8:24:33 AM

Loosing a House Seat is not the best measure because it is a step function. What would be interesting would be counting the actual dollars (tax$ x net migration).

Posted by: EconRon | Dec 27, 2010 8:24:33 AM

At #34, Louisiana doesn't have a high per-capita state burden. Iowa is even lower at #38. Missouri comes in at #45!

I tend to agree that there is an average trend of moving from high-tax-burden states to lower-tax-burden states, however, Dick Morris' claims are a bit of hyperbole.

Posted by: George | Dec 27, 2010 8:24:30 AM


Does anyone have any serious proof that people are leaving because of taxes? I want to believe this as much as any other liberty-minded person and have seen it coming for ten years (NY state is an example) but I want to see data.

Moving is a big deal (I've done it six times in my adult life) and I am skeptical that Ma and Pa would say "We can save $2,000 a year in taxes, let's move to Montana"...and do it.

Posted by: Jeff | Dec 27, 2010 8:21:46 AM

Yeah, gotta agree. Louisiana is one of the coldest places I've ever visited.

Posted by: Dr. K | Dec 27, 2010 8:17:44 AM

And in other breaking news...

Baby it's cold outside, the Atlantic and possibly the Pacific ocean as well seem to have a high moisture content.

Film at eleven...

Posted by: UncleScreech | Dec 27, 2010 8:14:32 AM

When I moved from OH to FL, I had a net gain of 8% on my income since I no longer had to pay ~5% state income tax, 2% city income tax, and 1% school income tax. I went from filing 3 tax forms each year to just 1. And in OH besides income tax, everyone from the local dog catcher, the township, county, and each state agency extract their pound of flesh in fees and taxes on all kinds of registrations and on "private" services (cable, wire phone, cell phone, etc.).

Posted by: Dandapani | Dec 27, 2010 8:07:52 AM

question: Do you know how Morris is calculating the tax burden for states without an income tax? Is he using sales tax? And if so, for states that DO have an income tax as well as a sales tax, is he combining both? It's hard to parse this without knowing where the numbers are coming from. For example, I have a hard time believing that, for NY and FL, the difference in tax burden per capita is only about $700, when not only does NY have a state income tax, but local income taxes and quite onerous sales taxes in many parts, whereas FLorida only has sales tax. Just curious. Thanks

Posted by: bjh | Dec 27, 2010 8:02:42 AM

They are also very cold...

Posted by: Dr. Arty | Dec 27, 2010 7:58:04 AM