New Data Shows Americans Fleeing High-Tax States

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Ever wonder whether people really do vote with their feet?

Each year, nationwide moving service United Van Lines releases sweeping data on where Americans are moving. These reports reveal a great deal about where to expect economic growth in the years to come and how the country is shifting. They released their 2016 report a week or so ago, around the same time as I read Attom Data Solutions’ latest report on property taxes, and I noticed a curious pattern. Americans seem to be leaving many of the same states with the highest property taxes.

But as I poured over the property tax map, immediately a huge outlier jumped out at me. Texas imposes high property taxes but no income tax, and it has more people moving in than moving out. Clearly, property taxes only tell part of the story.

How do migration patterns within the U.S. relate to the total tax burden in each state? How have real estate values recovered in states with high inbound migration compared to high outbound migration? And what actionable information can real estate investors take away from all of this data?

Total Tax Burden for Each State

State taxes come in three primary colors: property tax, income tax, and sales/excise taxes. Together, they form what WalletHub refers to as a state’s “tax burden.”

Tax burden is a nifty measure, totaling the percentage of the average resident’s income that goes toward property tax, income tax, and sales tax in a given state.

New York, imposing the highest tax burden, demands nearly two-and-a-half times the portion of its residents’ paychecks as Delaware does, with its low tax burden.

Here’s a map of the United States, with each state ranked by tax burden:

Source: WalletHub

To gain a better grip of what the highest and lowest tax states look like, let’s list them out, with a breakdown of each tax type. Below are the states with the highest tax burden:

Overall Rank State Total Tax Burden
Property Tax Burden
Individual Income Tax Burden
Total Sales & Excise Tax Burden
1 New York 12.94% 4.55% 4.76% 3.63%
2 Hawaii 11.27% 2.11% 2.64% 6.52%
3 Vermont 10.75% 4.96% 2.29% 3.50%
4 Maine 10.73% 4.65% 2.58% 3.50%
5 Minnesota 10.24% 2.87% 3.59% 3.78%
6 Connecticut 10.23% 4.16% 3.24% 2.83%
7 New Jersey 10.14% 5.31% 2.32% 2.51%
8 Rhode Island 10.09% 4.80% 2.15% 3.14%
9 Illinois 10.00% 4.14% 2.66% 3.20%
10 California 9.52% 2.72% 3.44% 3.36%

Remember that a state’s tax burden only includes the three state-related taxes listed above—they don’t include federal income taxes, payroll taxes, capital gains taxes, etc.

Now for the states with the lowest tax burden:

Overall Rank State Total Tax Burden
Property Tax Burden
Individual Income Tax Burden
Total Sales & Excise Tax Burden
41 Montana 7.51% 3.61% 2.56% 1.34%
42 Wyoming 7.29% 3.77% 0.00% 3.52%
43 Alabama 7.19% 1.41% 1.85% 3.93%
44 South Dakota 7.12% 2.83% 0.00% 4.29%
45 Florida 6.79% 2.76% 0.00% 4.03%
46 New Hampshire 6.70% 5.33% 0.13% 1.24%
47 Oklahoma 6.61% 1.38% 1.69% 3.54%
48 Tennessee 6.45% 2.06% 0.09% 4.30%
49 Alaska 6.27% 4.84% 0.00% 1.43%
50 Delaware 5.59% 1.83% 2.59% 1.17%

So, which states are Americans leaving, and where are they moving?

Migration Trends

For years now, Americans have been moving away from the cold, high-tax states of the Northeast and Midwest. Where are they moving? South and west.

As 2016’s data indicates, this migration trend is only increasing.

Take a look for yourself:

See that big swath of yellow in the Northeast, running through the Midwest?

But this data is best seen by cross-referencing migration rank with tax burden rank:

Top Outbound Migration States Tax Rank (higher rank indicates higher taxes) Top Inbound Migration States Tax Rank (higher rank indicates higher taxes)
1. New Jersey 7 1. South Dakota 44
2. Illinois 9 2. Vermont 3
3. New York 1 3. Oregon 27
4. Connecticut 6 4. Idaho 39
5. Kansas 20 5. South Carolina 37
6. Kentucky 22 6. Washington 33
7. West Virginia 14 7. District of Columbia N/A
8. Ohio 13 8. North Carolina 28
9. Utah 25 9. Nevada 30
10. Pennsylvania 24 10. Arizona 31

Cross-referencing the rankings reveals a big discrepancy: the average tax burden rank among the top ten outbound states is a high 14.1, while the average tax burden rank of the top inbound states is a much lower 30.2.

In other words, many more Americans are moving from higher-tax states to lower-tax states than vice versa.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering the degree of these migration imbalances? They’re high: Almost twice as many people moved out of New Jersey, Illinois, and New York last year as moved in.

There are exceptions, of course. Look at Vermont—it’s cold, the taxes are high, yet people are flooding this small northeastern state. Why? It’s tough to say, but it doesn’t hurt that Vermont has a friendly culture, low crime rates, great skiing, and good beer. We’ll revisit Vermont later in looking at its real estate recovery, though.

Property Taxes

For real estate investors, property taxes matter more than the other state and local tax types. After all, you’ll owe property taxes no matter what if you own property in a given state, but you’ll only pay income and sales taxes if you actually live there.

But unlike sales and income taxes, property taxes vary by county, not by state. Still, a similar pattern emerges, when you look at a county-by-county map of property taxes:

Yep, still a big ol’ swath of orange running through the Northeast and Midwest.

You’ll also notice Texas lit up in orange, but as mentioned above, Texas offsets its high property taxes by not charging its residents income tax. Its total tax burden is relatively low (ranked 34), and more people are moving in (54% of moves) than out (46% of moves).

Real Estate Recovery Since the Recession

Surprising no one, the states with inbound migration have recovered much faster than those with outbound migration.

Here’s a breakdown of real estate appreciation in the top inbound and top outbound states, over the last five years:

Top Inbound States 5-Year Home Price Change (Attom Data) Top Outbound States 5-Year Home Price Change (Attom Data)
South Dakota N/A New Jersey 5.10%
Vermont 2.60% Illinois 27.60%
Oregon 54.20% New York 0.60%
Idaho 65.80% Connecticut 1.30%
South Carolina 32.70% Kansas 23.20%
Washington 43.30% Kentucky 41.90%

Sure, there are outliers, but the averages are telling. Among the top inbound states, real estate values have appreciated by an average 39.7%. Among outbound states? Real estate values recovered only a placid 16.6%.

As for those outliers, did you notice anything funny about them? Vermont ring any bells? Its high tax burden may not have prevented inbound migration, but it doesn’t seem to have done any favors to its real estate appreciation. Most notably, Vermont has especially high property taxes, with a property tax burden of 4.96%.

Likewise, Kentucky suffered plenty of outbound migration, yet its real estate appreciated at a whopping 41.9%. It’s also a lower-tax state compared to others on the outbound list, with particularly low property tax burden of 1.99%

Opportunities for Real Estate Investors?

What does all this mean for investors?

First, inbound migration creates population growth, and population growth is what fuels demand for housing. Markets that are attracting inbound moves are bound to see higher rents and higher values.

Second, tax burdens have a direct impact on real estate investors’ bottom lines. Property taxes affect cash flow and margins in a significant way. Here’s a quick illustration: The average annual tax bill in Alabama in 2016 was $776. In New Jersey, it was $8,477. That means that the average New Jersey property tax bill cost almost the same amount in a month as the entire year’s bill in Alabama.

High income and sales taxes further eat into margins and take-home income if the investor lives there.

In other words, states with high inbound migration rates and low tax rates are a great place for investors to look for growth and returns.

Critics Cry Coincidence, But…

Proponents of high taxes will argue that correlation does not necessarily indicate causation. Maybe people aren’t leaving because of the taxes, but because of some other reason? In other words, maybe it’s just a coincidence?

Taxes aren’t the whole story, of course. Climate, culture, economic growth, and cost of living all impact where people choose to move, in addition to tax burdens. But economic growth is driven by population growth, as well as greater spending and investing by local residents. All of these appear to be happening more in lower-tax states.

Entrenched defenders of high taxes can contend that it’s just a coincidence, but no matter how your slice it, the fact remains that Americans are moving away from high-tax states and into lower-tax states. It’s those states that will see the economic benefits of all these new residents.

As a parting thought, consider a poll released this week by NPR that found that 77% of Americans believe their income taxes are too high. If you’re one of those who agree, well, it’s never too late to vote with your feet—or at least invest with your wallet in lower-tax states.

Fire in the hole! Cue the political debate, and the accusations of cherry-picking data (which, of course, I didn’t—these are all politically-neutral data sources and the best and most recent available). But seriously, what do you all think about these trends? On a more personal level, have you considered taxes as part of an interstate moving decision?

Leave your comments below!

About Author

G. Brian Davis

G. Brian Davis is a landlord, personal finance expert, and financial independence/retire early (FIRE) enthusiast whose mission is to help everyday people create enough rental income to cover their living expenses. Through his company at, he offers free rental tools such as a rental income calculator, free landlord software (including a free online rental application and tenant screening), and a free masterclasses on how to reach financial independence within 5 years.


  1. Christopher Smith

    I think its always good to be aware of big picture trends and this is very helpful in that respect. I would also however caution that state level data can be somewhat misleading if left at that.

    I have a grouping of properties in OH which as a whole does not fare that well by certain inbound/outbound measures. However, my properties are located in an area that has been experiencing explosive growth for the last 20 yrs or better, while other areas not really all that far away have been stagnant deadwood for a long long time. Its really amazing how very small changes even within a single geographic area can be the absolute difference between night and day on present and future prospects.

    So I recommend never leaving the analysis at macro level trending, you really need to possess expertise (or find someone who does), to give you an accurate on the ground perspective (sometimes on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis) when deciding where you choose to invest. Al politics is local and the same can be said for Real Estate.

    • G. Brian Davis

      Very true that ultimately all real estate is local, and the most useful data is on the neighborhood level (or really at the property level!). But like you pointed out, this is more about macro-level trends. Glad to hear your properties have been doing well, even while neighboring areas haven’t been so hot!

  2. Giovanni Isaksen

    Great piece Brian. Like Christopher alluded to you can’t buy a whole state but if you’re looking for another market your article is a great place to start. That said I always advise investors who are suffering from ‘the grass is greener somewhere else’ syndrome that in any town with people still in it there are also real estate investors doing well in that market and Christopher is a good example.

    • G. Brian Davis

      Yeah you definitely have to be careful of that “grass is always greener” fallacy, especially since real estate investing requires such intimate knowledge of a market. But I think these macro trends are fascinating, and are a good reminder of how fluid and constantly evolving our nation is.

  3. tim boehm

    Californians move north to Oregon for better quality of life and lower taxes, but smart Oregonians move to cites just across the border in Washington so their retirement won’t be taxed by Oregon. They can then shop in Oregon and pay no sales tax and live in Washington and not have their retirement taxed, and the weather on the Oregon coast is the same as in Washington coast.

      • John Murray

        Hi Brian,
        I have come full circle. I grew up in Monmouth County New jersey (tax hell) and left in 1976 for the Army. I never returned to live in NJ because it is a crap-hole. Always ahead of my time I made the correct decision as a teenager ( first time in human history) and never regretted it. Station in Hawaii (tax hell) and was chosen for lifeguard duty at Fort Derussy on Waikiki (very tough duty). Left the Army to live in California (tax hell) and had a wild time in the 1980s. Moved to Oregon (tax purgatory) and made my fortune in real estate (I’m a BRR guy and fan of 1031)) as well as stocks and bonds. Would never live across the river (tax purgatory) and pay higher auto registration and sales tax, as well as commuters that work in Oregon that crowd our roads and make them crappy like theirs. I-5 and the 205 are parking lots even on weekends when the Washingtonians are shopping in Oregon to beat the sales tax and burning gas to get here at the cost of about $1.25 per mile. I make all my income passively and pay little tax so the 9% income tax in Oregon (tax purgatory) is of little consequence. My favorite pastime is at Home Depot watching the all the Washingtonians sitting in traffic.

        • Andrey Y.

          Hawaii is tax hell? I hope this was a joke.
          Hawaii has one of the lowest property taxes in the nation! (which is the number that matters most for RE investors). Plus, landlord friendly laws, rent growth, appreciation, and all the jazz. I built close to 0.5M$ in equity there with little effort in a few years.
          Alas, they have sent me off to Alaska!
          I have lived in the DC area for 4 years, and I’ll agree with you there – I never saw the appeal of that place.

  4. Bo Wagner

    This is pretty cool data; as noted, data alone isn’t enough but glad to see GA is not a huge tax burden state. We do have a lot going for us here but right now we are dominated by traffic concerns! Regardless, great article!

  5. Darren Sager

    Brian I think your data is skewed, at least it is in every one of these types of articles that talk about traffic patterns of Americans. Reason is they only track data of established Americans moving from one place to another. They leave out foreigners now establishing residency here in the United States. Comments like, ” Almost twice as many people moved out of New Jersey, Illinois, and New York last year as moved in” may be true for Illinois, but it’s not true for New York and New Jersey who’s population is growing.

    States like New York and New Jersey, with our higher taxes, also produce much higher rents and in my opinion, a better quality of life than living in Alabama. They also produce people earning higher wages than others states. There’s nothing new about people living most of their lives in the NYC metro area then retiring down south where the cost of living is cheaper. The reason they didn’t move there to begin with is that the school systems are of far lesser quality and they wanted their kids to have a better education (which costs more), they wanted to earn more in their lifetime to be able to go to a place where they could make their retirement money last longer. They also wanted better opportunity throughout their lives which the NYC area produces.

    Some Americans are also “fleeing” the United States in general to afford a better quality of life. Look at you living now in Abu Dhabi. People will migrate all over the United States as they’ve always done, and to foreign countries not based upon taxes only (look at the number giving up their US citizenship at record pace because of the tax burden we have) for jobs. Jobs will always be the deciding factor where people move to. As technology reduces the amount of overall jobs we’ll see a greater migration away from these lower tax rural states to more metropolitan areas (like a major tech areas) because that’s the places where people can earn a living. That or these lower tax states will just become retirement zones with more adult communities with lower taxes because they have no need to burden the tax payers with public education costs. Who knows exactly what the future holds. But I’m sticking with my higher tax state and it’s higher rents.

    • G. Brian Davis

      It’s an interesting argument that you make, that data on interstate moves within the country doesn’t include foreign immigrant data. But here’s the thing – the heaviest immigration activity takes place in the Southwestern United States. So if we were to bring in immigrant data, it should actually make this trend of population movement into Western and Southern states even more stark.

      • Barry H.

        BRIAN – I would concur with your respectful rebuttal to DARREN’s observations. I lived in a high tax state through college and migrated to the Southwest where I have been ever since (CA and AZ). I have seen a huge number of immigrants my entire adult life in the SW United States (that whole thing about the border wall n stuff??) This applies to the entire SW and a huge number of them ARE technical jobs (esp Silicon Valley).

        I have relatives who will die in the cold of the Midwest or Northeast because they love it there – and the changing of the seasons really is awesome. Bringing it back to real estate and taxation, however, I have to agree that when also factoring the age of construction and need for upgrades/improvements and just having to operate a larger capital and cashflow machine to get an apples to apples lifestyle, as an Investor, the risk is not worth it to be in a state with high taxation (especially if the weather sux – Hee Hee !!) 🙂

        • G. Brian Davis

          Your comments ring true Bear.
          It’s definitely a difficult combination that the Northeast and Midwest face – aging infrastructure, minimal population growth, and budgets that have been bloated for too long. They face some tough challenges, not to the least of which are political. Being from Baltimore (Mid-Atlantic but it shares these same Northeastern woes), it will be a hard sell for me to go back to the high taxes and poor government services. The only reason I would go back is my family is there. I’d much rather live in the Southwest!

      • Jonathan Cope


        Thank you for the piece.

        It is an interesting macro consideration of people flows and the impact of taxes. Both are interesting topics.

        In support of Darren’s note above, however, it is difficult to consider many of the states listed as relevant comparable markets.

        Take New Jersey and Vermont for example.

        New Jersey is a huge economy and a populace state. Vermont is not in either case.

        Hudson County in New Jersey, a land mass bordering the Hudson River, just west of New York City has a population approaching 660,000 people.

        Vermont, too, has a population approaching 660,000 people.

        Hudson County properties, of which many are taxed even more than 3-4 times the noted NJ average, have seen consistent double digit annual appreciation since 2008/2009. Inventory is low, bidding wars are the norm, and buyers can pay cash in to the millions. In addition, many Hudson County residents pay their New Jersey tax load and add a few percentage points for New York City tax, too, if their employ is across the river in Manhattan.

        Population growth in Hudson County cities has been consistent and robust as very highly trained junior talent looks to be near New York City, many families have opted not to leave for the suburbs for their children’s education as charter schools have matured, affluent retirees have down/sized to urban footprints for a portion of the year while maintaining their formal residence in a lower tax state (e.g., FL, SC, etc.), and foreign buyers look to own property governed by the US rule of law in close proximity to Manhattan.

        New Jersey has also seen western and southern counties, which are more similar to their rural PA and DE neighbors, lose great numbers of people as infrastructure ages, jobs go, taxes rise, and services decline.

        Population shifts and their drivers are quite interesting, and the nuances make them more so.

        Thank you for the article.

        Best regards,


        • G. Brian Davis

          Actually Jonathan you raise a great point that I didn’t have time to get into much in the article, that there’s also a population shift taking place toward urban centers. In some ways, it makes the state data more striking, because the most densely populated part of the country is in the Northeast. So there are two almost-contrary trends taking place, one toward urban centers, and one toward lower-tax states in South and West, and if you read the original United Van Lines report they talk about how these opposing trends are playing out. Very interesting stuff.

    • TJ P.

      You’re pretty spot on here, Darren. I will say that your comment comparing quality of life was properly prefaced with your “opinion”. I realize I’m an exception but the complete opposite holds true in my case and to many that I know where there comes a point that the burden becomes too much and I think that is what the data shows.

      I live in the Bay Area and work in manufacturing. I was in TX and NV but my family relocated to CA for medical care and schools. What we’re discovering though, is we should have stayed in TX or relocated to AL where I went to college and could have landed a comparable job. For what we want and are accustomed to (decent- sized house with acreage, personal freedoms, self-reliability, etc), those are the best options. My oldest child is a Soph in HS. We didn’t want to interrupt the continuity there, so we decided to stay and reevaluate once he graduated. We’re all paying for it though- Tiny apt, shared rooms, multi-hour commute, little disposable income. Why?

      Well, to add to your comment about immigrants, there is also a generational component to this. Where my American Dream is a SFH with a big yard and lots of critters, this area is rapidly filling up with the opposite. Millennials who don’t mind stacking their friends five-high in a loft. Accruing 100Ks in student loans to graduate to Uber driver. Delay marriage as long as possible because it intrudes on their lifestyle of being hip without being tied down. Of course a place like AL is not going to appeal to them.

      I manage a dept and recently had a vacancy for a “specialist/ technician”. I pulled comps around the Bay Area and for the applicant pool, average salary was over 100k. I discuss this with my peers(who live in those Fly-over areas) who are in absolute disbelief about the stories they hear. “Why did So and So leave?” “Oh, she had a 3 hour commute because she couldn’t afford to move closer to work.”
      This is what these/your “highly-desirable” areas are becoming.

      • Christopher Smith

        I rent a number of properties in the East Bay and what you say is totally true. Folks where I own these properties can commute 3 hours (3 hours each way that is) every single day to work in San Francisco and San Jose. This just to be able to own a home larger than a shoe box. I personally can’t fathom doing that, and I don’t need to since I work 99% out of home and only drive in to SF and SJ a handful of times each year as a work courtesy.

        The great irony is that my properties have all doubled or better from when I bought them in 2011-2013, so it has worked out absolutely great for me. An even greater irony is that despite the crushing burden for the majority who still must commute, demand for my properties (and others) is through the roof. Silicon Valley never seems to stop growing so no matter what the burden (tax or otherwise) the people just seem to keep coming.

        • TJ P.

          I envy you working out of the home. It’s a path I may explore once I get a few more years under my belt (why I took a job here in the first place) and transition into consulting.

          Though I’m loath to living here, I sure wouldn’t mind timing the market just right and picking up a rental I could turn over in a few years. But I’m not going to force the issue. You got in at a great time for yours.

  6. brian ploszay

    I love statistics. They tell a lot and sometimes they don’t. People are leaving some of these high taxed states. But do these statistics include immigration? Also, the higher taxed states of NY, California, Mass. and Jersey have higher paying jobs, higher costs real estate and basically more money in their local economy. Alabama and Montana are low taxed states, but I can’t see a rush to move there because the job opportunities are limited.

  7. Susan Maneck


    Your statistics point more towards climate being the major consideration. Those just happen to be the lower tax states as well. Much of the population movement is on the part of retirees who want low taxes plus warm weather. Property tax is not the major consideration. Much more important is whether or not they tax retirement distributions. Mississippi has fairly high property taxes relative to the price of real estate, much higher than California. But for senior citizens the homestead exemption goes up to 75K and it is really easy to buy a house for that her and retirement income is not taxed. However, it is a lousy state to live in if you are still working. The jobs that are here just don’t pay enough and regressive taxes like sales taxes are high. Tennessee is even worse that way with a whopping 10% sales tax. The poor pay a much higher portion of their income in taxes than do the wealthy. But I guess that is okay if you aren’t poor.

  8. Donal Murphy

    It is a well written piece and you certainly break out the data, but yo uare missing 2 major points

    1) Aging population. Folks retiring and leaving the Northeast for Florida and the Carolinas or the MidWest for Arizona and Nevada is not a new thing. However, the Baby Boomers are retiring now and causing major demographic shifts. They are going where the taxes are low and they don’t need to worry about things like mass transit or other things folks working in a major city might

    2) Manufacturing and coal mining. Most the of the states with declining populations over the last 10 years were heavily dependent on those 2 economic sectors (yes, Western New York was a manufacturing hub). those industries are being drastically changed by technology and the jobs are gone.

    Also, you mentioned economic growth. What kind of economic growth are those low tax states seeing in contrast to the high tax states?

    • G. Brian Davis

      Interesting points Donal. To answer your question, check out this state-by-state economic growth data:
      It’s a mixed bag. Many states in the South and West are seeing great economic growth. But then again, so is New York.
      This was the most recent data I could find from a reputable source, but it’s still almost a year old.
      I could go on all day about manufacturing, unions, taxes and subsequent economic implosions, but I’m a product of my environment in a post-industrial city. My home city is a case study in failure to adapt to changing times, failure to learn from its economic mistakes, and it will probably stagnate for the rest of my lifetime. I can feel a rant coming and will stem it before it gathers steam!
      But ultimately you’re right; people are leaving these states that were manufacturing-dependent and in many cases haven’t evolved economically or politically.

  9. joseph hennis

    2.72% for property tax in california?!? This data is wrong. My county is just 1%. Look at the property taxes by county on your map. You will see california has one of the lowest property taxes in the country, made even lower by prop 13, but you wont see that on your charts!

    • David M.

      Joseph, I think the article said as percentage of income, not the actual tax rate. The higher percentage of income, combined with the low 1ish% property tax, suggests that our property values here in CA relative to income are way higher than in other states.

      • joseph hennis

        I still think it’s wrong. From google: The second is that it restricts increases in assessed value to 2% per year. Those two rules combine to keep California’s overall property taxes below the national average. The average effective property tax rate in California is 0.81%, compared with a national average of over 1.1%.
        Besides that, there is prop 13. People living in their same house for the last 20 years are paying the property tax that they paid 20 years ago! Did the statistics track that and average that out amongst home owners, ei, how long did the average home owner stay in their home and what was the price when they bought their home? Doubtful.
        Californians enjoy one of the lowest property tax rates in the country.

        Something else this article fails to acknowledge in a meaningful way… Move ins vs Move outs really doesn’t matter. It’s population growth that matters. California is still growing. More people are born then net loss from migration.

  10. Michelle Marty

    I’m in Dallas and propert taxes are one of the biggest issues here. The whole Dallas area (especially the burbs of north Dallas, where i happen to be) is seeing insane amounts of growth. The word “bubble” in reference to real estate is thrown around daily. I purchased a home in December of 2015 for $400,000 that same home now appraises for $550,000. Just about every home has seen that fast growth here and it’s still climbing. That’s great for flippers but not so great for homeowners. People are constantly having their property taxes raised and at 3.5% it’s a big deal to a lot of people. People are starting to voice concerns about being taxes out of their homes. My sister in law in Houston pays $35,000 a year in property tax. Of course she has a million dollar home but that kind of long term tax liability is a big deal. We’re considering cashing out and moving on. I’m extremely interested to see what Texas is going to look like 5 years from now.

    • G. Brian Davis

      I agree that high property taxes is a huge problem and a depressive force economically.
      It’s a politically-sensitive argument, but personally I would rather have a higher sales tax than an income tax or higher property taxes. I think taxes should be framed as “What do we want to discourage, and what do we want to encourage?” I would rather see the government discourage excessive consumption and the spend-spend-spend mentality, and encourage income growth. As for property taxes, we all need housing, so taxing housing only drives up cost of living (and yes, for renters too, because that cost gets passed on).
      Anyway I feel your pain Michelle!

  11. Lisa Monnig

    Thank you so much for this post. I moved from GA to NJ planning to stay for only one year. I met my husband to be and then promptly told him he had 5 years to get me out of there primarily due to the property taxes. We lived on a 50×100 square lot in a Cape with no central A/C. We subsequently moved to a suburb of Philadelphia on more than half an acre in a home twice the size (with central A/C) and pay the same property taxes in a better school district. I honestly have no idea what they do with all the tax money in such a small state.

  12. Brian,
    Very good effort, but you just made my blood boil. I am moving from New Jersey (#7) to Chicago (#9) in tax burden states. Frying pan into a saute pan? As I look for a home in the Chicago area, I was wondering why the numbers there, even in the best cities, were weak. This explains a lot. Especially with the Baby boomers moving away to get to less burdensome living.

  13. You people speak of taxes as though they are very American but fail to see that our govt on every level has increases four times the size in 40 years. Govt buys investment properties as the are private business and never once has acted responsibly with our tax dollars other than ask for more. I love my country, but these levels of govt are self serving not on the interest of the working people. We fund hospitals 90% with public money through bonds and levies and never do they cut the public a deal as though they are actual private businesses without taking from the public … we can afford any war or nada mission, but screw us tax paying americans. Universities are the same … we need some honesty in our society.

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