Despite Lois Lerner and the flow of individuals 1040s to the White House, the IRS does some positive things as well. One of these things is compiling state to state migration data based upon the year to year changes in individual tax filings. The recently released 2010-11 data for Delaware provides some insights into our states household migration patterns.
CRI identified the top ten states with whom Delaware had a net loss (out flow) of adjusted gross income between 2010 and 2011 and the top ten states from whom Delaware had a net gain (in flow) of adjusted gross income. Some characteristics of those states were then examined.
The greatest out flow of AGI was from Delaware to Florida (-$27 million). Second was Texas (-$12 million) followed by Pennsylvania (-$8 million), North Carolina (-$7 million) and South Carolina (-$7 million). The greatest net gains in AGI for Delaware came from New Jersey ($50 million) and Maryland ($48 million). They were followed by New York ($14 million), California ($14 million) and Virginia ($7 million).
The characteristics of the top ten "out flow" and top ten "in flow" states to Delaware are instructive.
First, the weighted average top personal state income tax rate for the "out flow" states was 2.5% compared to 8.0% for the states where households are flowing into Delaware. The current Delaware top income tax rate is 6.6%.
Second, eight of the top "out flow" states have no estate tax compared to just three of the net "in flow" states. Delaware reinstituted its estate tax a few years ago.
Third , among the "out flow" states the state-local tax burden as a percent of personal income was 9.0% versus 10.9% for the net "in flow" states. Delaware comes in at 10.1%.
Finally, six of the top ten "out flow" states have a right to work law while only two of the top ten "in flow" states have such a law. Delaware does not have a right to work law.
To sum up, households tend to move from Delaware to states with a lower top personal income tax rate, with no estate tax, a lower state-local tax burden and free labor markets. Makes sense. Lets hope state officials keep this in mind as they consider imposing more tax increases on Delaware.
Dr. John E. Stapleford
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The Caesar Rodney Institute is Delaware's Only General Public Policy Organization Committed to Protecting Individual Liberties and Preserving Fiscally Responsible and Efficient Government for the Common Good.