Americans (And Marylanders) Voting with their Feet – Stats Track Red State Migration
Updated: September 27, 2015
By Mark Uncapher
Several years ago, state Sen. Richard Madaleno (D- Montgomery, SD 18 and a leading apologist for higher taxes), explained to the Washington Post that he doubted that high income Marylanders would soon be moving to Virginia, where individual income taxes are lower because: “Trying to sell a high-end house right now is not the easiest thing to do.”
It turns out that moving out of state has been far easier than Madaleno anticipated.
An analysis of IRS data by Republican Congressional candidate Mark Plaster’s campaign finds that Maryland had a net decline of 5,596 taxpayers, with an adjusted gross income totaling $1,633,487,000 just between 2012 and 2013. Maryland ranks 45th for net taxpayer income change and 47th in terms of percentage, with a .9% decline in taxpayer adjusted gross income, trailed only by Illinois, Connecticut and Alaska.
These findings are drawn for IRS data that has in turn been aggregated and made more usable by “How Money Walks.” Their mapping tool and handy application, http://www.howmoneywalks.com/irs-tax-migration/ tracks the movement of population and income at both the st ate and county level.
Consider these facts. Between 1995 and 2010:
- The nine states with no personal income taxes gained $146.2 billion in working wealth
- The ten states with the highest personal income tax rates lost $107.4 billion
- The ten states with the lowest per capita state-local tax burdens gained $69.9 billion
- The ten states with the highest per capita state-local tax burdens lost $139 billion
Even within states, movement exists. Montgomery County lost $5.87 billion in annual adjusted gross income between 1992 and 2013, with three of the principal beneficiary counties being in Maryland:
- Frederick County, MD – $1.41 billion
- Fairfax County, VA – $602.76 million
- Howard County, MD – $575.60 million
- Anne Arundel County, MD – $466.08 million
- Palm Beach County, FL – $374.01 million
Migration within the country is sometimes blamed by some on the weather. The theory being that air conditioning has made warmer states more attractive, hence the population movement to the Sunbelt. However the mass migration away from high-tax states such as California undermines this explanation. Similarly, income tax free New Hampshire has experienced its own in-migration, especially from nearby high tax Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York.
Another way to evaluate the patterns is to note the population and income shift away from blue, Democratic leaning states including California, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maryland to red Republican states such as Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Utah and the Carolinas.
In effect, Americans react as consumers when considering where to live. High tax states, even when combined with more expensive government services, have been losing both people and tax dollars to more frugally run jurisdictions. This helps explain the appeal of Republican Governors. Not just Maryland, but Illinois and Massachusetts replaced their Democratic Governors with Republicans last year.