Tax-motivated migration may put fiscally irresponsible states at risk of financial collapse. Which will be first?
I’m a big fan of federalism because states have the flexibility to choose good policy or bad policy.
And that’s good news for me since I get to write about the consequences.
One of the main lessons we learn (see here, here, here, here, and here) is that high-earning taxpayers tend to migrate from states with onerous tax burdens and they tend to land in places where there is no state income tax (we also learn that welfare recipients move to states with bigger handouts, but that’s an issue for another day).
I mentioned in the interview that restricting the state and local tax deduction is going to accelerate the flight from high-tax states, which underscores what I wrote earlier this year about that provision of the tax bill being a “big [expletive deleted] deal.”
I suggested that Stuart create a poll on which state will be the first to go bankrupt.
And there’s a lot of data to help people choose.
- Freedom in the 50 States.
- Death Spiral states.
- State spending growth.
- Welfare generosity.
- State tax burden.
- State Business Tax Climate.
- State Fiscal Report Card.
- Bureaucrat pension liabilities.
- Even my Moocher Index.
Technically, I don’t think bankruptcy is even possible since there’s no provision for such a step in federal law.
But it’s still an interesting issue, so I decided to create a poll on the question. To make it manageable, I limited the selection to 10 states, all of which rank poorly in one or more of the surveys listed above. And, to avoid technical quibbles, the question is about “fiscal collapse” rather than bankruptcy, default, or bailouts. Anyhow, as they say in Chicago, vote early and vote often.
Daniel J. Mitchell is a Washington-based economist who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.