From 2012 to 2013, Forced-Unionism States Lost $18.2 Billion in Adjusted Gross Income Due to Net Domestic Out-Migration of Taxpayers


Perhaps the single most effective tool for measuring the long-term, ongoing migration of taxpayers and incomes out of forced-unionism states and into Right to Work states is furnished by the Statistics of Income (SOI) division of the IRS.

And today any interested person can easily access SOI data on the “state to state migration” page of the web site of the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation or the How Money Walks web site, maintained by financial writer Travis Brown.

The SOI division records the number of personal income filers who move (typically with their dependents, if they have any) across state lines, based on address changes shown on their tax returns. The SOI data are arranged according to the year taxes are filed.

For example, the most recent available annual data (for the Tax Filing Year 2013, available at the link below) show that a total of nearly 1.70 million tax filers were residing that year in a Right to Work state after residing somewhere else in the U.S. in the previous year.

(Since the ban on compulsory union dues and fees in Wisconsin, the most recent state to enact a Right to Work law, took effect only this year, it is regarded as a forced-dues state in this analysis. Indiana and Michigan, whose Right to Work laws took effect in 2012 and 2013, respectively, are excluded.)

Meanwhile, roughly 1.55 million tax filers were residing in a Right to Work state in 2012, but filed from somewhere else in the U.S. in 2013. That means a net total of roughly 146,000 tax filers moved from a forced-unionism state to a Right to Work state between 2012 and 2013.

The SOI division also calculates and makes available to the public the aggregate adjusted gross incomes for tax filers in the year immediately following their move.

Personal income tax filers moving to a Right to Work state between 2012 and 2013 reported a total of $104.8 billion in income in 2013, or $61,687 per filer.  Tax filers moving out of a Right to Work state over the same period reported a total of $85.2 billion in income in 2013, or $54,826 per filer.

Both because of their substantial taxpayer losses due to net domestic out-migration, and because the taxpayers they gained reported significantly less income per capita than the taxpayers they lost, forced-dues states lost a total of $18.2 billion in adjusted gross income in a single year.

Moreover, 12 of the 13 states suffering the worst net losses of annual income, in absolute terms, due to taxpayer out-migration  from 2012 to 2013 lack Right to Work laws.

This was no isolated occurrence.  SOI migration data going back to the 1991 tax filing year (the first year for which such data are available) consistently show forced-unionism states losing billions of dollars a year in income due to taxpayers and their families “voting with their feet” in favor of Right to Work.

A follow-up post on the National Institute for Labor Relations Research web site will furnish additional information about the long-term trend in the exodus of taxpayers and their families out of compulsory-unionism states.

Year after year, far more taxpayers are moving into Right to Work states than are moving out of them. And forced-unionism states are consequently losing enormous amounts of income (and tax revenue) as well as people. Image:

Migration Data 2012–2013