Remember Maryland’s millionaire tax? Millionaires do. It expired last year, and with it, so went the 6.5 percent tax rate for Maryland millionaires.
The tax was controversial when Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed it into law during his first term. It was controversial when it died. And there are legislators who want to bring it back.
Now controversy over tax rates is percolating again, here in the dog days of summer, after the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities issued a report last week seeking to answer this question: Do people leave states because of high taxes?
“Tax Flight Is a Myth,” is the report’s title. Subtitle: “Higher State Taxes Bring More Revenue, Not More Migration.” Key finding: “The effects of tax increases on migration are, at most, small — so small that states that raise income taxes on the most affluent households can be assured of a substantial net gain in revenue.”
The authors say people in general don’t move much; that they move for cheaper housing, not for lower taxes; and that lower taxes can limit the kind of “cultural facilities, recreational opportunities, and good public services” that potential migrants enjoy.
The influential political blog MarylandReporter.com published a story about the report last week, and today it followed up with a remarkable piece about an actual Maryland resident who has the guts to say he is permanently moving because of taxes. He is Mark Gaver, a Frederick County businessman, and he is moving to Florida, which has no state income tax.
“The move is primarily to get out of the cold weather, but the tax benefits are certainly substantial,” Gaver told the blog, adding “I don’t think the state of Maryland cares to keep people like me here.”
Do you know anyone who has left Maryland because of taxes? Where did they go? Are you thinking about moving because of taxes? Discuss below — politely, please.