New Study Shows Significant Wealth Migration from Massachusetts to Florida, New Hampshire

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

Read media coverage of this report:

Boston Herald:

Taxes driving wealth out of Massachusetts and into Florida, New Hampshire: report

Editorial: Wealthy have options to avoid tax hikes 

The Boston Globe: Massachusetts is losing wealthy residents to states with no incomes taxes, such as New Hampshire and Florida

The Bond Buyer: Massachusetts sees wealth exodus

State House News ServiceRemote Work Growth Adds Dimension to Tax Debate

Bloomberg Bay State Business: Researcher Andrew Mikula from the Pioneer Institute on their new study that shows wealthy individuals leaving Massachusetts (2:13)

The Howie Carr Show (Greg Sullivan)

The Eagle Tribune Editorial

Salem News Editorial

Gloucester Daily Times Editorial

Nightside with Dan Rea

Patch: Is Your Empty Building Still Burning The Midnight Oil?

Commonwealth magazine

NH Union Leader 

WWLP 

WWLP

BOSTON – Over the last 25 years, Massachusetts has consistently lost taxable income, especially to Florida and New Hampshire, via out-migration of the wealthy, according to a new Pioneer Institute study.

In “Do The Wealthy Migrate Away From High-Tax States? A Comparison of Adjusted Gross Income Changes in Massachusetts and Florida,” Pioneer Institute Research Director Greg Sullivan and Research Assistant Andrew Mikula draw on IRS data showing aggregate migration flows by amount of adjusted gross income (AGI). The data show a persistent trend of wealth leaving high-tax states for low-tax ones, especially in the Sun Belt.

“Because of our stable tax environment and concentration of talent, Massachusetts has outperformed most states and outpaced the nation in job growth since the Great Recession,” said Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios. “Yet even during that period of growth we were shedding almost a billion dollars a year to low-tax states like Florida and New Hampshire.”

The report finds that Massachusetts has experienced a net outflow of $20.7 billion in AGI between 1993 and 2018. Unsurprisingly, the biggest beneficiaries were no-income-tax states like Florida, which captured 46 percent of it, and New Hampshire, which gained 26 percent.

“We saw this trend slow down temporarily during the Great Recession, when people became less mobile,” said Sullivan. “But it’s since come roaring back, and the magnitude is staggering.”

Between 2012 and 2018, Florida, which has no income tax or capital gains tax, saw a net $89 billion AGI inflow. Fully 70 percent of that eye-opening number was attributable to taxpayers with AGI of $200,000 or more. Over 30 percent of the total growth in AGI among all Florida taxpayers from 1993 to 2018 was attributable to the state’s net increase in migration. Meanwhile, the only reason why Massachusetts’ total AGI is still growing is because of income gains among stationary residents.

Over the last couple of decades, high rates of immigration have bolstered Massachusetts’ economic health and kept its population stable. However, large rates of domestic out-migration remain a threat to the long-term economic vitality of Massachusetts and much of the rest of the Northeast.

In fact, many of the states that have lost taxable income to Massachusetts on net since 1993 are also in the Northeast, with New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey contributing the most AGI. Some Midwestern states, like Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan, lost smaller amounts. However, considering the substantial wealth migration from Massachusetts to New Hampshire and Maine, geography alone can’t explain broad trends in the flow of capital.

“The legislature needs to be very careful in the new post-pandemic environment, when talent is more mobile,” said Stergios. “Businesses look at the business climate closely – especially tax issues – when they think about location. I’d hate to see us follow in Connecticut’s footsteps toward economic decline.”

Earlier in January, the Institute released “Connecticut’s Dangerous Game,” which demonstrated how multiple rounds of tax increases aimed at high earners and corporations triggered an exodus from Connecticut of large employers and wealthy individuals.

About the Authors

Andrew Mikula is a Research Assistant at Pioneer Institute. Mr. Mikula was pre­viously a Lovett & Ruth Peters Economic Opportunity Fellow at Pioneer Institute and studied economics at Bates College.

Gregory Sullivan is Pioneer’s Research Director. Prior to joining Pioneer, Sullivan served two five-year terms as Inspector General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and was a 17-year member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Greg is a Certified Fraud Investigator, and holds degrees from Harvard College, The Kennedy School of Public Administration, and the Sloan School at MIT.

About Pioneer

Pioneer’s mission is to develop and communicate dynamic ideas that advance prosperity and a vibrant civic life in Massachusetts and beyond.

Pioneer’s vision of success is a state and nation where our people can prosper and our society thrive because we enjoy world-class options in education, healthcare, transportation, and economic opportunity, and where our government is limited, accountable and transparent.

Pioneer values an America where our citizenry is well-educated and willing to test our beliefs based on facts and the free exchange of ideas, and committed to liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise.

Get Updates on Our Economic Opportunity Research

Related Content

The Great Understatement: Far more taxpayers and businesses than previously estimated will be affected by the proposed surtax

This report finds that analyses from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (MADOR, 2016) (and more recently, Tufts University’s Center for State Policy Analysis (2022)) dramatically underestimated the number of households and businesses impacted by the constitutionally-imposed tax hike that the legislature is putting before voters in November 2022. The proposed tax would impact multiples of the number of people previously estimated, over a nine-year period, since the majority of “millionaires” only earn $1 million once during that time.

Study: Tax Up For A Vote In November Would Ensnare Over Three Times More Taxpayers Than Previously Estimated

Analyses from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (MADOR, 2016) and Tufts University’s Center for State Policy Analysis (2022) dramatically underestimated the number of households and businesses impacted by the constitutionally-imposed tax hike that the legislature is putting before voters in November 2022, according to a new study from Pioneer Institute.

Public Statement on Massachusetts High Technology Council’s Challenge to the Graduated Income Tax Ballot Language

The Massachusetts High Technology Council is right to insist on transparency in the language of a tax hike amendment scheduled to appear on the Massachusetts state ballot next year.

Study: “Millionaire’s Tax” Would Have Far-Reaching Effects on “Pass-Through” Businesses

A proposed graduated income tax that will appear on the statewide ballot in November 2022 will have much more far-reaching implications than most people realize because the surtax also extends to “pass-through” income from entities such as S and limited liability corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships that are taxed on individual tax returns, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

The Far-Reaching Impact of a Massachusetts Surtax: Anecdotal Evidence and Data Analysis

This report shows that a proposed graduated income tax that will appear on the statewide ballot in November 2022 will have much more far-reaching implications than most people realize because the surtax also extends to “pass-through” income from entities such as S and limited liability corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships that are taxed on individual tax returns.
Welcome to New Hampshire Sign: Live Free or Die

A Timely Tax Cut: How New Hampshire is Taking Advantage of Massachusetts’ Graduated Income Tax Proposal

As Massachusetts voters weigh an amendment to the state constitution to enact a surtax on million-dollar earners, they should be cognizant of how the policies of other states could interact with the tax hike to encourage an exodus of jobs and capital, especially in proximate jurisdictions. New Hampshire is a neighboring state that has already benefited from out-migration from Massachusetts to the tune of over $426 million in taxable income in 2019 alone. A new budget amendment there, passed in July 2021, will eliminate the interest and dividends tax by 2027, contributing to a divergence in tax policy that might attract an increasingly mobile workforce and entrepreneurial base.
Welcome to New Hampshire Sign: Live Free or Die

Study Warns that New Hampshire Tax Policies Would Exacerbate Impacts of a Graduated Income Tax

Drawing on migration patterns between Massachusetts and states like Rhode Island and Tennessee, Pioneer Institute is releasing a study showing a direct correlation between personal income tax rates and household domestic migration patterns between 2004 and 2019. The study suggests that instituting a graduated income tax will shrink the tax base and deter talented workers and innovative employers from coming to and staying in the Bay State.

Study Finds SALT Deduction Cap, Graduated Income Tax Will Combine to More Than Double Tax Burden on Some Households

A provision of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 strictly limiting deductions for state and local taxes (SALT) will greatly exacerbate the adverse effects of a proposal to create a constitutionally mandated graduated income tax, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

The SALT Cap: An Accelerator for Tax Flight from Massachusetts

After the authors of the proposed graduated tax in Massachusetts submitted their proposal for legislative approval in 2017, the federal government placed a $10,000 limitation of deductibility of state and local taxes on federal tax returns. This unforeseen change in the federal tax code had the effect of turning what would have been a 58 percent increase in average state income tax payments among Massachusetts millionaires, from $160,786 to $254,355, into what is essentially a 147 percent increase when the federal SALT limitation is included in the calculation. This substantial change should be taken into consideration by voters when they contemplate approving the surtax proposal.

Study Suggests How to Advance Fairness, Predictability of “Payment in Lieu of Taxes” Programs Aimed at Nonprofits

A new white paper by Pioneer Institute calls for increased transparency over the basis for payment in lieu of taxes (“PILOT”) agreements between municipal governments and nonprofit organizations, while also encouraging nonprofits to publicize and expand the community benefits they provide.

PILOT Agreements: Nonprofits’ Fair Portion or Government Extortion?

A new white paper by Pioneer Institute calls for increased transparency over the basis for payment in lieu of taxes (“PILOT”) agreements between municipal governments and nonprofit organizations, while also encouraging nonprofits to publicize and expand the community benefits they provide.

Public Statement on Implementation of the Charitable Giving Deduction

Despite being awash in cash, the state Legislature just overrode Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of a provision to delay by yet another year a tax deduction for charitable donations. Rep. Mark Cusack, House chair of the Joint Committee on Revenue, said “it doesn’t mean no, just not now.” If not now, when?