Data for the Tax Jesus


Perhaps he should have gone with income tax reform over property tax reform. This makes for interesting reading from the Wall Street Journal.

Politicians who think taxes don’t matter might want to explain the Dakotas. North Dakota ranked second worst in out-migration last year, while South Dakota ranked in the top 10 as a destination. The two are similar in most regards, with one large difference: North Dakota has an income tax and South Dakota doesn’t.

Here’s another example. The only Pacific Coast state to lose migrant population in 2007 was California, which has the highest state income tax in the nation. This is the continuation of a dismal 10-year performance with nearly one and a half million Golden Staters leaving what was once the premier destination state in America.

Meanwhile, next door, Nevada was second among the states in new families — and a big percentage of the new arrivals are Californians. Nevada has no income tax. High income Californians can buy a house in Las Vegas for the amount of money they save in three or four years by not paying California income taxes.

In a 2007 study performed by United Van Lines of moving trends, Alabama was in the top five destination states, but not Georgia.


Technorati Tags: Glenn Richardson, GREAT plan, Tax reform


  1. drjay says:

    getting rid of the income tax does seem like a much better idea and much easier to sell–i’m not sure if we get enough tourism to do like fla and fund the state off of people going to disneyworld–or how much the sales tax would have to go up to cover the difference–but i am all for explorin this option for sure…

  2. Jace Walden says:

    If I remember correctly, Steve Davis, one of the few fiscal conservatives left in the House, offered up a proposal to eliminate the state income tax last year.

    The Tax Jesus® and his band of “yes” men who chair the committees in the House quietly swept the proposal under the rug because, “It [was] a good bill, but Steve is the wrong person to propose it…”

    That is a direct quote from a house member and committee chairman.

  3. Icarus says:

    I’m pretty sure the Lt. Gov is on record in favor of eliminating the state income tax as opposed to the GreatGlennTax, as well.

  4. eburke says:

    Getting rid of the income tax makes the most sense of any proposal out there. It will give a boost to the economy and give every worker a 6% pay increase immediately. I don’t understand why the Republican leadership has not jumped on board this train. It would mean real reform and not just a grab for more power.

  5. IndyInjun says:

    Moving from a state with no income tax, Florida, to Georgia, with its income tax has not been an impediment, has it?

    There were enough Gators to get their own GA license plate, after all.

    The property tax and insurance costs down in the Sunshine state have clouded the luster. The property tax down there is higher than the GA income and property taxes combined from many accounts.

    Apart from these observations, I have no problem eliminating the state income tax. The problem for Republicans is that they strive to remove whatever taxes that are favored from business, which drives the rate up on individuals. This is usually the undoing of tax reform.

    Without spending reform, tax reform is like squeezing a balloon.

  6. ChuckEaton says:


    I didn’t know why they have low property taxes, but I used to live in LaGrange which is a border city. The folks in Alabama would buy their groceries and gas in GA, because the sales tax was lower and would brag about how ridiculously low their property taxes were.

    It’s unfair to point to Alabama as a top five destination state, in a post regarding tax reform, and ignore the fact the state has an income tax and very low property taxes.

  7. CobbGOPer says:

    And if (or maybe more appropriately, when) people in general get over the stigma of Alabama being a shite place to live, more companies will start taking advantage of the lower cost of living there and you’ll see Birmingham turning into the new Atlanta.

  8. Obviously if we eliminated the income tax, other taxes or fees would be raised in its place. Seems pretty stupid to call that a “6% payraise” for every Georgian. If the tax swap is revenue neutral, everyone will either be paying the same they used to pay in some other tax or (more likely) some people will be paying more in fees/other taxes than they used to pay in income taxes and others will be paying less.

    At the risk of being called some sort of socialist, I am going to speculate that high income earners (those who contribute to the GOP and write the op-ed page for the WSJ) will be paying less to the government in taxes and fees if the income tax was eliminated. Low earners will see their share increase, although they will think they pay less because it won’t be as transparent and easy to calculate as a 6% income tax. If income tax elimination didn’t really save high earners money, they would not propose it.

    So, I’ll let everyone on this board decide whether they’ve crossed the high income threshold that would actually save them money with income tax repeal. I’m guessing that threshold is probably around $150,000/year, and I am sad to report that accordingly I will most likely not be getting a “6% payraise” if the income tax is eliminated.

    But to those who wish to live in a fantasy world where the income tax is eliminated and is not replaced with other forms of taxation, be my guest.

  9. Jace Walden says:


    You hit the nail on the head of the problem that many of us have with so-called “tax reforms” or “tax cuts”. The plans offered usually neither “reform” or “cut” anything.

    I still like Steve Davis’s proposal from a year (I think) ago, regarding getting rid of the state income tax, but even his plan called for it to be replaced with a sales tax increase.

    Cutting taxes is like spitting tobacco on a snake bite. You’re curing the symptom (pain) but ignoring the larger problem (the fact that you have venom running through your blood). Before I can take any tax reform proposal seriously ever again, I want to see some substantial overall spending cuts so that there will be no need to raise taxes or fees in other areas.

  10. Progressive Dem says:

    Concluding that taxes are the single or even predominant determinant in where people move to and from is a ridiculous reach.

  11. >>>North Dakota ranked second worst in out-migration last year, while South Dakota ranked in the top 10 as a destination. The two are similar in most regards, with one large difference: North Dakota has an income tax and South Dakota doesn’t.

    Correlation is not cause-and-effect.

    The top-five new arrival states are also significantly warmer than the top-five departure states.

    By the WSJ’s logic, temperature reform should be as important as tax reform.

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