For Immediate Release                                                                     Contact:  Marc Duff

April 14, 2003                                                                                   262-782-0763


High Tax States Drive Residents Away

New Study Finds Trend that May Makes a Bad Situation Even Worse


A new study released by The Taxpayers Network (TNI) reveals many Americans may be doing a lot more than just thinking about the impact of taxes on their lives – they are actually moving to avoid them.

“While many focus on federal income taxes during April, people living in high tax states are literally moving to places where the burden is lower,” said Marc Duff, TNI Director of Policy and Research.

This is the finding of Dr. Richard Vedder, an internationally known economist at Ohio University.  In a study done for TNI, Vedder exposes a new migration pattern that exists in America, one that his research shows is prompted by high state taxes. 

Highlights of Vedder’s findings include:

·         Low tax states gained over 2 million of the people who moved within the US between 1990 and 1999. 

·         High tax states lost 890,000 people between 1990 and 1999.

·         Of those who moved between 2000 and 2002, low tax states gained 729,000 while high tax states lost 371,000.

·         In high out-migration states, the tax burden was 6.5% higher than low out-migration states for 1990-99.  From 2000-02, the tax burden was 10.9% higher in high out-migration states.

·         Statistical analysis indicates that for each 1% increase in the proportion of personal income taken by state and local taxes in 1990, 166,400 people left states during the next nine years.

·         A 1% increase in state/local tax burden reduces in-migration into a state by 18,000.

According to Duff, the tax impact on a state’s population may only worsen because of record state deficits as governors and legislators look to tax increases to address the budget woes.  The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that during current legislative sessions, tax or fee increases are being considered in at least 24 states. A National Governors Association report said taxes and fees for fiscal 2003 were increased by more than $8.3 billion----representing the largest net state tax increase in over a decade.

“This is a trend that has numerous implications,” continued Duff, a former legislator and author of numerous articles on tax and budget policy.  “We are already seeing high tax states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio and New Jersey, all of whom have experienced significant population out-migration, consider sizable tax increases to address budget deficits. That may well be the worse thing a state can do since it will likely just continue their decline.”


The Taxpayers Network is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public about public policy issues.  For more information about this study and a variety of data about state and federal tax policy, visit the website at