Some time ago I relied on the song “I’d Love to Change the World” by Ten Years After to tell the tale of the wealthy fleeing Connecticut’s high income taxes. Now New York is feeling the same pinch because the wealthy are, as Steve Miller might say, starting to take their money and run.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who makes his livin' off of the people's taxes, held a press conference to bemoan the $2.3 billion drop in state income tax revenue in December and January alone. Cuomo suggested that this was the result of the 2017 tax reform bill which reduced the amount of state taxes one can deduct from one’s federal tax burden. As a result, states with high income taxes, like New York and California, fear that their wealthy residents will flee to lower tax states like Florida. As Steve Miller might say,
They got the money, hey, you know they got away
They headed down south and they're still running today
Singin' go on take the money and run
This should serve as an important reminder to public officials at every level, including the Missouri General Assembly and policymakers in St. Louis and Kansas City, that people do make choices based on tax burden. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that 53 percent of Californians want to leave the state in part due to the high cost of living, impacted by high income taxes.
As we’ve noted numerous times before, taxes in Missouri are too high. If Missouri wants to attract residents, employers, innovators—or anyone—policymakers must be better stewards of taxpayer dollars and provide basic services at the lowest possible cost.