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 2014, available at the first link below) show that a total of more than 1.67 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 bans on compulsory union dues and fees in Wisconsin and West Virginia, the two most recent states to enact Right to Work laws, took effect only last year and this year, respectively, they are regarded as forced-dues states in this analysis. Michigan, whose Right to Work law took effect in late March 2013, is excluded.)
Meanwhile, nearly 1.49 million tax filers were residing in a Right to Work state in 2013, but filed from somewhere else in the U.S. in 2014. That means a net total of roughly 185,000 tax filers moved from a forced-unionism state to a Right to Work state between 2013 and 2014.
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 out of a forced-unionism state between 2013 and 2014 reported a total of $111.4 billion in income in 2014. But tax filers moving into a forced-unionism state over the same period reported a total of $92.9 billion in income in 2014. Consequently, forced-dues states lost a total of $18.5 billion in adjusted gross income in a single year.
All of the six states with net gains of at least a billion dollars in annual income (Arizona, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas) have Right to Work laws on the books. But 11 of the 12 states suffering the worst net losses of annual income, in absolute terms, due to taxpayer out-migration from 2013 to 2014 lacked Right to Work laws at the time.
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.
(For additional information about the long-term trend in the exodus of taxpayers and their families out of compulsory-unionism states, see the story located on pages 8-7 of the October 2015 issue of the National Right to Work Newsletter, accessible in the second link below.)