Why do people move? Packing up all your stuff and moving to a new location is not an easy task, and it’s not fun. Trust me, I’ve done it a lot. It’s one thing if you decide you can finally afford your dream house, and quite another when you downsize.
But think of the boundless courage that sent the Pilgrims across months of the North Atlantic in a leaky ship, or even the Puritans, a little later, in the Winthrop fleet. Taking all your earthly possessions and leaving everything you have known to strike out for the completely unknown is something else entirely. Americans continued to up and move — across mountains, looking for better farmland. They pushed into what is now Tennessee and Pennsylvania. And consider those who embarked on wagon trains to cross an unknown Indian territory bound for an unknown Oregon.
Fast forward to today. California, the ‘Golden State’ has, in the last two decades, lost four million more people than have come to California from other places. Lots of reasons. High taxes, if you don’t own a big chunk of Google or Apple, your chance of owning a home in the Bay Area is close to nil. Environmental extremism, with a goofy cap-and-trade law resulting in skyrocketing energy costs drives out jobs and business. Jerry Brown believes that green jobs will replace vanishing industry.
New York’s high taxes have made the Empire State a place to flee. In the past ten years, it has suffered an exodus of some 3.4 million New Yorkers, nearly a million more people than those who escaped East Germany for West Germany or West Berlin from 1949 to 1961 — an exodus that led the Communists to construct the Berlin Wall in 1961.
The outflow hasn’t stopped. New York State’s income loss for the state is $45.6 billion, according to the Tax Foundation. There is still plenty of immigration from abroad. It’s not surprising that most refugees have headed for sunny, income-tax free Florida. New Yorkers who leave an estate of more than 1 million get hit with a state death tax reaching 16%.
Governor Andrew Cuomo admits the problem, but hasn’t threatened New York’s status as “tax capital of the nation” with any substantive reforms.
I don’t know why it is so hard to understand, but people who live in high tax states are moving to states with no income tax. States with high energy costs and high taxes are losing businesses to low tax states with reasonable regulation. Some of the folks who are moving are the hated rich, and they seem to be rich because they run their businesses — which they are also moving — efficiently, and find it more profitable to do business in states where taxes are low, energy costs are low, and the states are preferably right-to-work.
Oddly enough, most of the states with a business-friendly climate seem to be run by Republican governors who go for balanced budgets and low taxes. Must be a coincidence.
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