Want to get away? If you live in blue-states New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and while I’m at it California, you do now. As the so-called tax “cut” grinds its way through the sausage maker in Washington, why would you stick around any longer than you have to?
Most of you aren’t sticking around for the weather. It’s more likely you’re here for your family. Last time I checked, raising a family is a big investment and where you live is a huge part of the equation. Which is why I have a problem with this tax “cut” stripping out deductions for state and local taxes and capping real estate deductions.
Yes, I appreciate that perhaps removing the deductions will make blue states walk the fiscal line. But I’m not buying it. The liberal progressives have ruined these states and they’re not going to change now.
The super-rich progressives will be just fine. They have their foundations and estates buttoned up already. They’re just governing based on guilt now.
Which leaves the successful, the small business owners–basically the middle class that actually sticks around to raise their family–to clean up the mess. This is not the group that should be penalized by tax “cuts.”
As the baby boomers shift into retirement mode, that humming sound you hear is the sound of the moving vans and trucks bee-lining down route 95 South to tax haven Florida. And the progressives think this is sustainable how?
Here’s the numbers courtesy of the WSJ:
Democrats contend that marginal tax rates don’t matter to investment and growth, and even some conservative intellectuals are conceding the point. But the evidence from wealth fleeing high-tax states shows how sensitive the affluent are to rate increases.
The liberal tax model is to fleece the rich to finance spending on entitlements and government programs that invariably grow faster than the economy and revenues. IRS data on tax migration show this model is now breaking down in progressive states as the affluent run for cover and the middle class is left paying the bills.
Between 2012 and 2015 (the most recent data), a net $8.5 billion in adjusted gross income left New Jersey while $6.2 billion poured out of Connecticut—4% of the latter state’s total income. Illinois lost $13.6 billion. During that period, Florida with no income tax gained $39.3 billion in AGI.
Not surprisingly, income flows down the tax gradient. In 2015 New York (where the combined state and local top rate is 12.7%) lost a net $850 million in AGI to New Jersey (8.97%) and Connecticut (6.99%). At the same time, the Garden State gave up $335 million to Pennsylvania (3.07%), and $60 million left Connecticut for the state formerly known as Taxachusetts (5.1%). Taxpayers from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut escaped to Florida with $3.2 billion in income. Florida Gov. Rick Scott ought to pay these states a commission.
The affluent account for a disproportionate share of the income migration. For instance, individuals reporting more than $200,000 in AGI in 2015 made up 57% of the income outflow from Connecticut (compared to 48% of total state AGI) and 57% of the inflow to Florida.
Snowbird flight isn’t new, but migration has accelerated as taxes have increased. Income outflow from Connecticut averaged $500 million between 2003 and 2007. Then in 2009 GOP Gov. Jodi Rell raised the top tax rate to 6.5% from 5%, which her Democratic successor Dannel Malloy lifted a few years later to 6.7% and again two years ago to 6.99%. AGI outflow between 2012 and 2015 averaged $1.6 billion.
In 2004 Democrats raised New Jersey’s top rate on individuals earning more than $500,000 to 8.97% from 6.37%. Between 2012 and 2015, annual income outflow from New Jersey averaged $2.1 billion—twice as much as between 2000 and 2003 after adjusting for inflation.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie blocked his Democratic legislature’s attempts to reimpose a millionaire’s tax that lapsed in 2009. But Democratic Governor-elect won the election this month by promising to soak the rich even more, and his legislature will oblige.
The prospect of future tax hikes appears to have propelled an exodus of high earners from Illinois, which has a relatively low and flat 4.99% income tax. Democrats raised the rate from 3% in 2010, but the tax hike lapsed in 2015 after Bruce Rauner became Governor. House Speaker Michael Madigan finally this summer secured GOP legislative support to override the Governor’s veto and reinstate the higher rate.
But the tax increase won’t raise enough money to finance the state’s $250 billion unfunded pension liability, and the long-time goal of unions has been to enact a graduated income tax. The affluent know they’ll get soaked eventually and are seeking shelter. Top earners made up 47% of Illinois’s income flight in 2015 compared to 33% four years earlier. Income taxes from the 306 Cook County denizens who decamped to Palm Beach in 2015 with $258 million of income could have paid 200 teacher salaries. Alas.
This millionaires’ diaspora has harmed income and economic growth. Real GDP between 2011 and 2016 grew annually at a paltry 0.2% in Connecticut, 1% in Illinois and 1.2% in New Jersey, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. These states were the slowest growing in their respective geographic regions, though other high tax states in the Northeast didn’t fare much better.
As a result, revenues have repeatedly fallen short of projections in New Jersey, Illinois and Connecticut while budget deficits have ballooned. Democratic lawmakers have cut public services and funds to local governments, which have responded by raising property taxes.
The Tax Foundation says New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, New York and Illinois have the highest property taxes in the country. Over the last two years, the average Chicago homeowner’s property taxes have risen by roughly $1,000. Higher property taxes hit middle-class earners especially hard and are another incentive to leave a state.
As these state laboratories of Democratic governance show, dunning the rich ultimately hurts people of all incomes by repressing the growth needed to create jobs, boost wages and raise government revenues that fund public services. If the Republican House and Senate tax-reform bills follow through with eliminating all or part of the state and local tax deduction, progressive states will have an even harder time hiding the damage. They should be the next candidates for reform.
Read more here.
Originally posted at Yoursurvivalguy.com.
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