High Taxes Are Driving People Out of Connecticut, and We Can Prove It

January 11, 2018

It’s finally beginning to sink in. For years, my Republican colleagues and I have warned that ever-increasing taxes would drive businesses and residents out of the state.

Instead of heeding this warning, progressives rolled their eyes. The relationship between high taxes and population trends was a fallacy, a white elephant, they said. You have no proof.

This week, United Van Lines released its annual National Movers Study. For the third consecutive year, Connecticut is among the top five states people are leaving.

This is backed up by data from the Internal Revenue Service. It shows that the average adjusted gross income for all taxpayers leaving Connecticut last year was more than $123,000. That is far above the state’s median income and proves that wealthier residents are the ones leaving.

Where are they heading? Connecticut residents took more than $2 billion in income to Florida when they left the nutmeg state between 2015 and 2016. One noticeable difference between the two states: Florida does not have an income tax.

This means that Democrats’ calls for raising taxes on the rich are counterproductive. Not only will the state fail to collect the anticipated revenue, it will push more people to leave. Where will state government get the money from then?

In the past few years, major economic engines like General Electric and Aetna have left Connecticut’s high taxes. They took well-paying jobs with them leaving an employment void that prevents the state from attracting residents in those upper income brackets. In fact, in September and October of 2017, Connecticut lost more than 8,500 jobs.

This doesn’t mean that in a decade the state will be a population wasteland with little more than tumbleweeds crossing the roads. The United Van Lines study found that more people moved into the state than out and they moved here for employment reasons. However, tax information showed that those who moved to the state earned an average of $30,000 less than those who left.

It’s like the overflow drain in a bathtub. You can continue filling it, but you are losing the water at the top.

You can add people to Connecticut, but the available taxable income at the top levels continues leaking out. Instead of the tax collections evening out, they continue to shrink.

The time for talk of higher taxes is over. The numbers show that the wealthy have reached their limit and are packing their bags. It’s a vicious cycle that has been playing out for years and can no longer be ignored.

The truth is finally sinking in. It’s time to acknowledge the elephant in the room.

State Senator Michael McLachlan represents the 24th District, which includes the communities of Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, and Sherman.