Horace Greeley’s admonition, “Go West, young man,” certainly had application in 2016 but for a different reason. People are heading West, according to United Van Lines’ 40th annual National Movers Study, and moving away from high-tax states.

Among some of the top-destination states last year were Oregon, Idaho, Arizona and Washington. Topping the list of outbound states were New Jersey, Illinois, New York and Connecticut — all big taxers. And joining the top-10 outbound states last year was Pennsylvania.

Many of the high-exodus states have “worse than average tax structures” as detailed in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index.

New Jersey, for one, saw nearly two people move out for every person who moved in, according to The Daily Signal.

“As states continue to compete amongst themselves for attracting and retaining residents, tax rates and structures should be part of the conversation,” writes Nicole Kaeding for the Tax Foundation.

Retirees and empty-nesters, especially, have reason to move to those states where they can retain more of their savings.

The movers survey is a wake-up call for Pennsylvania’s leaders: They can’t generate more revenue if people keep moving out of the Keystone State. At work is a fundament economic principle that should be clear enough: If less of something is desired, tax it.


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