States Americans Want to Flee Kind of Suck on Freedom and Taxes


States to leave

Lots of Americans want to get the hell out of wherever they are—half of Illinois residents wish they lived elsewhere, and almost as many Connecticut and Maryland residents share similar sentiments. I've been to those places and, frankly, who can blame them?

But as unerring as my judgment is on such matters, there are more concrete reasons to put distance between yourself and the White Sox or Martin O'Malley's haunts in Annapolis. Checking the list of states where people don't want to be against similar lists of states that suck on freedom and taxes finds some interesting correlations.

According to Gallup, an average of 33 percent of any state's residents want to move across the state line. But roughly half of Illinois and Connecticut residents, and nearly as many (47 percent) of Maryland residents want to hit the road.

State taxes too damned high

As it turns out, residents in all three states appear toward the top of an earlier Gallup poll of those who think their state taxes are too damned high. With average state tax disgruntlement standing at 50 percent across the union, 76 percent of Connecticut residents say they're overtaxed, as do 71 percent of Illinois residents and 67 percent of Maryland residents.

And, in fact, a WalletHub ranking of states by the degree to which they tax their residents finds a remarkable degree of correlation between the two. Illinois comes in at 47 on the list (the higher the number, the worse the gouging)—38 when you adjust for cost of living. Connecticut ranks at 48 (49 adjusted), and Maryland ranks at 41 (44 adjusted).



But that doesn't mean it's all about the money. There's also an interesting correlation between states people want to see in the rearview mirror, and states poorly ranked for personal and economic freedom by the Mercatus Center. Mercatus scores each state on over 200 issues including tax burden, property rights, marijuana laws, gun restrictions, government spending, occupational licensing, marriage freedom, and many more concerns.

Obviously, the final results of such rankings depend to some extent on how you weight each type of freedom, and there's a lot of subjectivity inherent in such comparisons. But using Mercatus's default score, Illinois ranks at 45 out of the 50 states in terms of freedom, Connecticut comes in at 40, and Maryland takes its place at 44.

Gee. Places that boss you around and charge heavily for the privilege tend to send people drifting toward the exit? Who would have guessed?

Correlation across the lists is not exact. Some states rank poorly on both personal freedom and taxes, and yet hold the affection of their residents. For example, only 23 percent of Hawaiians want to leave the state behind even though it's at 47 on the freedom index and 48 on the tax list, once adjusted for cost of living. Perhaps awesome surfing and a gorgeous climate can offset a host of other annoyances.

If that's the trick, that's going to be a tough model for Illinois to emulate.


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  1. For a loooong time, the party line at the SF Chron was that the business migration out of state was a myth; ‘see X tech company?’. Which company is simply keeping the headquarters in CA since most of the regs don’t affect that strata of income.
    Yesterday, however, the edi-cartoon had a cowboy labeled “Texas” playing what looked like a corn-cob pipe with ‘lower taxes, less regulation’ coming out, followed by a parade of stereotyped bizz people leaving CA.
    I guess we’re to see ‘lower taxes, less regulation’ as something to be avoided.

    1. B-b-b-but…taxes are the price we pay for civilization!

      1. Texas offers civilization at a better rate.

        1. Sir, that was one of the better rejoinders I’ve seen to the Taxes=Civilization meme. I humbly ask your permission to use it.

          1. Go for it.

        2. I like that too!

    2. Yesterday, however, the edi-cartoon had a cowboy labeled “Texas” playing what looked like a corn-cob pipe with ‘lower taxes, less regulation’ coming out, followed by a parade of stereotyped bizz people leaving CA.

      Are you fucking kidding me? Political cartooning is beyond parody at this point. Truly the lowest art form on the planet. Even lower than punning.

      1. That’s why I only do smart car tuning.

          1. Is that guy available for website design?

          2. Are they doing the new version of Oregon’s Healthcare exchange?

          3. Take off and nuke that from orbit.

            1. What?!?

              Wandering chicken gif is the best Internet innovation since Youporn!

              1. Nobody should be able to wield that kind of crazy. It’s too dangerous!

              2. PEOPLE OF BRITAIN
                …you can trust me,
                I AM LING!

                  1. Oh God…I still have tears of mirth and joy running down my cheeks:

                    Every web visitor…
                    …who is too old to drive, can apply for a Chinese Werther Original. Old people with false teeth should be DAMN CAREFUL about choking. Free sugar-rush!

                    1. If you are lucky, you get STRAWBERRY Werther!
                      DANGER! Causes big shit!

                      Thank you HM. Thank you.

                  2. If you are lucky, you get STRAWBERRY Werther!
                    causes big shit!

                    OK, that’s pretty good.

                    1. Stupid refresh.

          4. “Ling Vader”

            Oh, and I agree about the wandering chicken.

    3. The cartoon in question. I like how they slipped one woman into the parade of businessmen, because patriarchy.

    4. Years ago the Chron business section published the results of a “study” by a lefty group purporting to show that California taxes and regulations had no negative effect on business. They did this by interviewing existing businesses. The whole thing was as if they had taken How To Lie With Statistics as a how-to manual.

      I shredded the study in a long letter (that got printed), pointing out (among other things) that it was like studying the effects of smoking by excluding anyone who had died from it. If you do that, it’s easy to conclude that smoking doesn’t kill anyone.

      1. “I shredded the study in a long letter (that got printed), pointing out (among other things) that it was like studying the effects of smoking by excluding anyone who had died from it. If you do that, it’s easy to conclude that smoking doesn’t kill anyone.”

        Maybe I stole it from you, but similarly, it’s easy to show Russian Roulette is harmless. Just ask the survivors!

        1. An even better analogy.

    5. Yesterday, however, the edi-cartoon had a cowboy labeled “Texas” playing what looked like a corn-cob pipe with ‘lower taxes, less regulation’ coming out, followed by a parade of stereotyped bizz people leaving CA.
      I guess we’re to see ‘lower taxes, less regulation’ as something to be avoided.

      I think you were supposed to connect low taxes & regulations ==Texas == cowboys == Cliven Bundy == RACIST!!!11!!

      Or something like that.

      Taxes are the price we pay for civilization to not have to live near a bunch KOCHTHUGLIKKKAN TEAHADIST RACISTS!!!1!!!! /derp

    6. Checking the cartoon, it says “lower wages, few regs.” The lower wages would be a sticking point … if the California cost of living weren’t outrageous. And few regs. Liberals love regulations. Not laws. Regulations. Only if we are told what to do by appointed bureaucratic busybodies rather than our elected representatives can we truly be free.

    7. All fine and dandy, but apparently they don’t have roads in Texas.

  2. This is why there is so much hate against “emigres” – lots of people fleeing your favorite Utopia is jarring because it contradicts the narrative of how wonderful things must be. So when you see lots of people fleeing the French, Russian and Cuban revolutions, that’s because they’re exploiters who are sad that their victims have been liberated, etc.

    1. True.

    2. French people are moving to London in droves for those reasons. Which is really sad considering London is hardly a bastion of freedom.

  3. CT, where the state led an aggressive campaign against Adult stores but gave millions to WWE and Jerry Springer to keep their productions there (despite not bringing in any more jobs). Where the criminal/corrupt Mayor per capital ratio borders on the impressive. Where there used to be no state income tax.

    We escaped from there two years ago. Miss Ocean State Job Lot, but not much else.

    1. The jai lai gambling is fun as hell.

  4. How is it that the Land of Entrapment doesn’t rank among the top fifteen on that list? Maybe it’s a Pauline Kael moment, but I don’t know anybody living here who wouldn’t prefer to be elsewhere. Myself included.

    1. It’s the weather.

      1. Admittedly, the dry weather is quite a boon. Our winters are chilly but not clingy, and our summers are hot but rarely sweltering.

        Still, I’d go for (say) ‘Frisco over Albuquerque. Fog? Rain? Beaches? Fugghedaboudit.

        1. I think SF used to be really cool. Now it is a mess. Aggro panhandlers, up to 4 hours to cross town during rush hour. And, if you can be in SF, you can probably be in San Diego, which is actually really nice.

    2. We enjoyed vacationing in Albuquerque a lot more than San Francisco. I don’t think I’d want to live in either place.

    3. Better gun laws, lower taxes, and awesome food.

      And “preferring to be elsewhere” is probably a shade different than “please, God, get me the fuck out of this state.” Most New Mexicans seem to have the attitude of “yeah, I wouldn’t mind living elsewhere, but I guess it could be worse.”

  5. Texas, Texas ?ber alles,
    ?ber alles in der Welt,
    Wenn es stets zu Schutz und Trutze
    Br?derlich zusammenh?lt.
    Von der Grande bis an die Sabine,
    Von der Red bis an den Gulf,
    Texas, Texas ?ber alles,
    ?ber alles in der Welt!

  6. OT. This is coolest shit I know of right now…

    Chinese 3D print 10 houses at $5K each. They’re ugly and small.…..290171.htm

    USC trying to build a 2500sqft home in 24 hours.…..n-24-hours

    Bonus economic idiocy:

    That’s a lot of people Contour Crafting could make redundant, which raises the question of whether the system could do more harm than good.

    1. I thought you were joking:

      just what we need – more crap technology building hideous buildings and worst of all replacing people and jobs in one of the few remaining industries untouched by technological change _ I hope this never happens on any scale that reduces jobs significantly

      1. Rage against the Automatic Teller Machine!

        1. I prefer an Automatic Penn Machine myself.

        1. Why is Daniel Ortega supervising the workers with a magic wand?

          1. I thought it was the cover of a John Oates solo album.

            1. Damn…I thought I had a clever line and you had to one up the whole thing!

              *goes back to looking at DeLorean and Skoda Yeti leasing Ling’s website*

        2. Carlos Santana??

  7. To be fair, CT has seen a marked decrease in faces being ripped off by chimpanzees.

    1. To be fair, CT has seen a marked increase in the political power of Dannel Malloy.

  8. To be fair, Maryland sucks in spite of it’s taxes and **cough** freedom.

    1. I would like it here if the political climate was different.

      1. It’s been infected by the human mange of DC. not only do the politics suck, but so does the weather, roads and the people.

        Fuck this place. I’m going to Florida, where I can at least get free entertainment for my crazy.

        1. I grew up in Western Carroll, so I was largely shielded from “the people” for most of my life.

          Hyperion and I have discussed before where we plan to exit to when we get a chance. The problem seems to be a lot of places suck 🙁

          1. Ah, that explains it. I grew up in PG and moved to Monkey county as an adult.

            Now you see why I hate it here.

            1. I definitely understand now.

  9. I escaped CT too…for IL.

    I wouldn’t say I don’t want to leave, but there aren’t a ton of places I would actually rather go and still have a decent job and place I wanted to live, so. And compared to back home it still seems way better here.

  10. Not far off topic, eBay bends over to bring home foreign earnings.


    Growing up, I thought I would never leave….now, once the kids are off and on their own, I could see going somewhere else. San Antonio maybe?

    1. How many years until the parasites are out the door?

      1. 6 years a slave…er, IL taxpayer left.

        1. I’m going to leave here for at least a year at some point. CA taxes capital gains as ordinary income. They ain’t getting a piece of me.

    2. Our plan is to get a pied-a-terre in Singapore and hop around SE Asia until we settle down on my wife’s land in Nowheresville, Thailand.

      1. If we’re talking retirement, I’m looking at French Polynesia, Galapagos, Caribbean, and Hawaii. Hopefully with some sort of part time tourism business like a bar, restaurant, or excursion company.

        1. We’re looking at Ecuador. Spanish is relatively easy and the quality of life to cost ratio is very high. The Galapagos seems like a PITA place to live, though.

          1. Probably. I’m sure that the airfare would add up. I’m also looking at Costa Rica. I lived there 18 years ago, and I really liked it.

            1. I’ve heard many good things about Belize.

            2. Their entire industry is fleecing ex-pats now. I love the country, but I’d pick a different one in the region.

              1. CR, or Belize?

      2. Do a little cobra ranching? Maybe angle for a Royal appointment in some sort of scholarly field?

  12. I’m surprised Michigan – land of the frozen wasteland and potholes – didn’t make the top-ten “I want to leave” list. I sure do but several factors keep me close to the bosom of this gray prison.

    1. All the people who wanted to leave have already left.

  13. Why do so many want to leave Nevada?

    1. The economy is shit there. It’s like San Bernardino right now.

    2. “only two kinds of creature get fun in the desert: Bedouins and gods, and you’re neither. Take it from me, for ordinary men, it’s a burning, fiery furnace.”

  14. I’m sure people becoming more tired to taxes in general is a major factor.

  15. I’m shocked that Arizona is so high on the list. It must be our whiny, liberal residents still stamping their feet, tweeting about boycotting their own state and insisting that they want to leave over SB1070. As far as I’m concerned, they can join Alec Baldwin in keeping Cytotoxic company.

    1. Joe Arpaio lives in Arizona, that probably accounts for 90% of the problem.

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