Tag Archives: migration

More Evidence of Real World Tiebout Competition

The past year, California experienced its lowest population growth rate in over a decade. Furthermore, the state’s positive growth was maintained by foreign, rather than domestic migration. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Since [2005], more than half a million more people have left California than have moved to the state. They mainly have moved to neighboring Western states, said Mary Heim, chief of the demographic research unit at the Department of Finance. In past years, more of those people moved to Nevada, but last year saw an increase in people moving to Oregon and Washington, she said. Texas also attracts a large number of Californians.

The article quotes state policy analysts who suggest that the Golden State’s regulatory climate is driving jobs and residents to other states. Contrarily, a Newsweek article from earlier this year explained that California’s CO2 regulations, the strictest in the country, could help the state’s businesses:

California has led the way in demonstrating how market-savvy regulation, instead of stifling growth, can jump-start innovation. For instance, the state has revolutionized the way utilities are regulated: instead of making profits by building more power plants, the California Public Utilities Commission links utility profits to efficiency gains—and leaves it up to the utilities to decide how to do it most cost-effectively.

However, potential Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman sees the situation differently. She said of Governor Schwarzenegger’s energy regulation:

I applaud the goals of AB 32 and our Governor for forcefully advocating for a clean environment.  However, three years ago when the bill was signed, the unemployment rate was 4.9 percent with 883,000 Californians unemployed.  Today, we have 12.2 percent unemployment, with 2.2 million Californians out of work.  Simply, jobs must come first.

Whitman’s views are in line with the ALEC-Laffer analysis of the states’ business environments, which suggests that Americans are moving from states with higher regulatory burdens to those with more economic freedom.

Escape from New York (and California, Illinois, NJ, and Michigan)

Mobility is a feature of American life. People move  in search of jobs, new opportunities, or better weather. There is individual mobility and there are migration patterns. The constant flow of migrants shapes our economic topography. Regions rise and fall based on economic fortune.  When large numbers of people move exit,  they may be following opportunity, escaping the lack of it, or fleeing crisis and decline.

That is why this week’s release of this study by Wendell Cox and E.J. McMahon of The Empire Center is so striking. The authors calculate U.S. migration patterns between 2000 and 2008. New York, on net, lost over 1.5 million people. California lost 1.3 million. Illinois lost over half a million. Michigan and New Jersey round out the top five each losing over 400,000 people.

What might explain these en masse shifts? The strongest contender is fiscal policies that compete with a Category Five Hurricane. High taxes and housing costs, regulations and the growth of government at all levels in New York, California, and New Jersey have bankrupted these states not only of their revenues, but of their most valuable asset – their people.

New Hampshire Buckles Up

New Hampshire is the freest state in America, according to a Mercatus study by Jason Sorens and William P. Ruger.  This study ranked the 50 states by degree of economic and personal freedom:

New Hampshire comes out on top as the freest state in the United States. It achieved this ranking due to its excellent fiscal policies and moderate levels of regulation and paternalism. However, as with all of the states, even New Hampshire has room for improvement, and post-2006 political changes in that state may mean that its ranking in this study will fall the next time we update the data and rankings.

It seems, however, that New Hampshire is in danger of losing its number one spot.  The Wall Street Journal reports that the “Live Free or Die” state is considering passing a seat belt law:

The Granite State has long been known for its plucky Yankee self-sufficiency — it was the first colony to declare independence from Great Britain in 1776. Today it is the only state in the nation that doesn’t have a law requiring adults to wear seat belts. It has resisted efforts to pass one for 30 years, and has been the proud lone outlier since 1995, when neighboring Maine became the 49th state to buckle.

But now, legislators are close to passing a seat-belt law under a push by Democrats who gained control of the state Senate, House and governorship in 2006 for the first time in a hundred years. The Democrats have been boosted in the polls by a wave of migration from other states, including famously liberal Massachusetts, over the past decade.

A growing budget deficit in New Hampshire may be the reason why legislators are contemplating the law:

One key factor in the buckle-up bill is that the state, like others, is strapped for cash. The law would qualify New Hampshire for $3.7 million in federal money offered to states that pass or update seat-belt ordinances by July 30.

The money would come from a law passed by the Bush Administration in 2004 to incentivize the passage of seat-belt laws.  In addition to the federal money,  fines would also raise revenue for New Hampshire.  The bill calls for a $25 fine for first time offenders and $50 fines for second offences.