Saturday, December 20, 2008

Escape, American Style

One interesting demographic trend that was ignored in this past election cycle is the outmigration from California and the northeast by retirees and others who are trying to escape the oppressive burden of taxes in their home states.

When you look at the highest combined tax burdens among all fifty states the numbers are staggering. Connecticut: Number 1. New York: Number 2. New Jersey: Number 3.

In fact, the only state in the northeast that's not in the infamous Top Ten is New Hampshire which ranks 29th in combined taxes and has no state sales tax. Maybe that's why New Hampshire is seeing an increase in population compared with it's neighbors.

But there's a festering problem on the horizon and the evidence is clear in the state-by-state election returns of last November. New Yorkers, and others from liberal enclaves move out to escape the oppressive burden of taxation.

Then they get to their new home and pull the lever on election day for the same scolds, bloodsuckers and losers who have made life unlivable in their former hometowns.

So, how do the rest of us avoid this tragic fate?

It turns out that we’re looking to make a move in the next few years to escape from sales taxes, state income taxes, five-figure property taxes, increases in tolls and fees, along with confiscations we cannot even imagine now as New York's deficit grows and its population dwindles.

In analyzing our choices we determined that our destination will have to fulfil several criteria.

It must be in the Bottom Ten in combined tax burden.

There must be no major cities.

It must have little or no migration from the northeast or any other liberal mecca.

This last factor is critical.

We were at a recent going-away party for friends who were moving to North Carolina because they could no longer afford New York. When I told Ben that we were looking to relocate and were considering North Carolina he raised his glass and said:

“Good. We’ll turn that red state blue in no time.”

I walked away shaking my head while making a mental note to cross North Carolina off of our prospective destination list.

Right now, our leading choices are Biloxi, Mississippi and Gulf Shores, Alabama.

When I mention these two destinations to friends here in Fun City they gag and become physically ill.

I think we're on the right track.

UPDATE: December 26th, 2008.

This morning, while browsing through the New York Times, I choked on my porridge when I got to the "Escapes" section. Seems that the Manhattan intelligentsia have discovered Gulf Shores, Alabama. Looks like we'll have to cross this one off the list as well. Costa Rica is looking pretty attractive.


Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean.

But I can save you a lot of trouble calculating your multi-facited criteria.

Just find the statistic for the worst education testing results in the nation, and move there!

Oh! You don't need to, you already found Alabama and Missippi!

Joseph Martini said...

Dear anonymous,

Just curious, but where did you rank on your "multi-facited" test of academic achievement?

NYC spends about $13,000 per student per year. Still, test examiners in standardardized math and ELA exams are "encouraged" to find any rationale at all to bump up scores.

State-by-state rankings typically use NEA-inspired criteria such as class size and teacher-pupil ratios rather than objective measures.

Just my humble opinion, of course, but my experience here in the "Best School District in America" has made me a touch cynical when it comes to grading school systems.

By the way, here in New York every school district is the best.

Anonymous said...

Learned that spelling at the same school that taught you that "New Jersey: Number 3." is a sentence.

But anyway, I agree with your comments and extrapolated point that more government money spent on education does not yield proportionate improvements in education.

I am not suggesting that Connecticut, NY, or NJ have a good solution.

Nevertheless, it's true; while spending little, Alabama and Mississippi provide some of the worst K-12 Education in the country, by any measuring stick, and that effects the health and income of its residents for generations.

Joseph Martini said...

We can go back and forth about objective standards versus subjective criteria, but the paradox remains:

High-tax, high cost of living communities boast about good schools though very few young families with children can afford to live there. Worse, their property tax and mortgage interest deductions represent a direct subsidy that goes to the rich.

Did I mention that my youngest will be out of high school in two years? Even if you're correct, why would I care?

And yes... it is a sentence.

I won't get into effects versus affects.

Anonymous said...

Alabama and Mississippi test scores are "low" because of the predominance of "minorities" and the fact that so many of these parents are not gainfully employed. They are sucking on the teat of mother government.
Come on down, but leave the socialist ideology behind. We love the Constitution, and productive northern immigrants.