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Yet another reason not to trust Erika Johnsen of HotAir (Illinois, taxes, Gallup)

Erika Johnsen of HotAir and other fiscal conservatives have a habit of showing their low level of patriotism by turning their backs on their fellow citizens in California.

Now, Johnsen and Hot Air readers have found a new state to turn their backs on: Illinois. While turning around, Johnsen also cherry-picked a poll to support her tax-lowering crusade.

Johnsen offers "Illinois is the worst, say Illinoisans" [1] about a Gallup poll showing that state as the top in the number of residents who say they'd move if they could:

Here’s an interesting metric for measuring the caliber of a given state: Not merely how many residents are actually up and leaving, but how many residents really want to up and leave. That’s the question that Gallup asked in a new survey released this week, and not at all surprisingly, a full fifty percent of Illinoisans would get the hell out of dodge given the opportunity, followed closely by Connecticuters and Marylanders... Gallup mentions that high taxes are a major discouraging factor for the people who want to get out of Illinois, and in a poll earlier in April, only 28 percent of Illinoisans reported that they had at least a fair amount of trust in their state government - dead-last place again, with Rhode Island second-to-last at 40 percent and North Dakota in first place with 77 percent. Ouch.

While Gallup didn't ask those who'd move if they could for the reason, they did ask for a reason from those who planned to move within 12 months. Taxes only played a major role for those in Illinois, Maryland, and New York but for all three other factors were more important. The closest was New York, where 14% said the reason was taxes, 15% said work/business related, and 16% family/friends. In the other two states, the leading other factors were two or three times as important:

Apparently, when all you have is a hammer and a limited level of patriotism, everything looks like a nail.

The low likelihood that a desire to leave is because of taxes is shown by comparing tax levels in the poll question Johnson concentrates on. Here are tax metrics for the states that most respondents would leave if they could:

State     State income tax [2]     State sales tax [3]     Mooching level [4]    
IL 5.0 (flat rate) 8.05% 0.92
CT 3.0 - 6.7 6.35% 0.73
MD 2.0 - 5.75 6% 0.86
NV none 7.85% 1.31
RI 3.75 - 5.99 7% 1.15
NJ 1.4 - 8.97 6.95% 0.77
NY 4.0 - 8.82 8.4% 1.00
MA 5.20 (flat rate) 6.25% 0.83
LA 2.0 - 6.0 8.75% 1.02
MS 3.0 - 5.0 7.05% 1.96

Compare the states where the fewest respondents would leave:

State     State income tax [2]     State sales tax [3]     Mooching level [4]    
MT 1.0 - 6.9 none 1.77
HI 1.4 - 11.00 4.4% 1.52
ME 0.0 - 7.95 5.5% 1.89
OR 5.0 - 9.9 none 1.40
NH 5.0* none 1.02
TX none 7.95% 0.91
CO 4.63 (flat rate) 6.1% 0.78
MN 5.35 - 9.85 7.2% 0.64
SD none 5.4% 1.21
WY none 5.5% 1.11

The "Mooching level" (I'm only using that to put this in terms faux patriots can understand) is the ratio of how much a state sends to the federal government to how much it receives back. For instance, blue states like Connecticut (0.73) are subsidizing "moocher" red states like Mississippi (1.96).

There are other taxes to consider, and a complete picture would only be obtained by comparing how much in taxes someone would pay in their current state vs. the one they want to move to. However, if high taxes were a major factor for most people, one might not expect the first four in the table directly above to rank so high. "Maker" states seem to be less popular than "taker" states. Perhaps some of those who want to leave Illinois are those with low incomes who are affected by the state's high sales tax. Sales taxes are generally considered to have a higher impact on poorer people [5], not that today's conservatives care about them too much.

For more on related issues, see Texas, California, HotAir, libertarians, and the Fiscal Con page. Tweet your thoughts on her crusade to @ErikaJohnsen.

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[1] hotair . com/archives/2014/05/03/illinois-is-the-worst-say-illinoisans
[2] State Individual Income Tax Rates updated January 1, 2014: taxadmin . org/fta/rate/tax_stru.html
[3] rightmost rates from thestc . com/strates.stm
[4] talkingpointsmemo . com/dc/
the-map-that-proves-red-staters-use-the-safety-net-too
[5] laits.utexas . edu/txp_media/html/pec/features/0400_01/slide3.html

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 14:37 · Importance: 4