Here are some of the most interesting conclusions from the authors’ study: The tax differential between low-tax states (e.g., Texas and Tennessee) and high-tax states (e,g. California and Ohio) is widening. This makes a move from one state to the other financially profitable both in lower tax bills and more job opportunities. For every day from 1998 through 2007, at least 1,100 people moved from the nine highest income-tax states to the nine no-income tax states. During the 1998-2007 period, the no-income tax states created 89% more jobs and had a 32% faster growth in personal income compared to the high-income tax states. During the period 2002-2005, states that invoked a “soak the rich” tax hike experienced a significant reduction in the number of rich people paying taxes in these states relative to the national average.
Anticipating a “more taxes =better schools, etc.” counter-argument, the authors compared New Hampshire to New York and California: The Live Free or Die State has no income or sales tax, yet it has high-quality schools and excellent public services. Students in New Hampshire public schools achieve the fourth-highest test scores in the nation — even though the state spends about $1,000 a year less per resident on state and local government than the average state and, incredibly, $5,000 less per person than New York. And on the other side of the ledger, California in 2007 had the highest-paid classroom teachers in the nation, and yet the Golden State had the second-lowest test scores. Finally, no opinion piece like this can forget taking a well-deserved shot at New Jersey: Or consider the fiasco of New Jersey. In the early 1960s, the state had no state income tax and no state sales tax. It was a rapidly growing state attracting people from everywhere and running budget surpluses. Today its income and sales taxes are among the highest in the nation yet it suffers from perpetual deficits and its schools rank among the worst in the nation — much worse than those in New Hampshire. Most of the massive infusion of tax dollars over the past 40 years has simply enriched the public-employee unions in the Garden State. People are fleeing the state in droves.