More People Fled High-Tax New Jersey Than Any Other State in 2018

P. Gardner Goldsmith | January 11, 2019
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End-of-the-year summations are popular as reporters look for stories to fill the holiday week between Christmas Eve and the New Year. Often, the releases are fluff, but once in a while, a reader can catch something valuable, and Tyler Durden, of Zerohedge did just that a few days ago. Durden noted the importance of the United Van Lines annual “National Movers’ Study”, which compiles their stats on how many people move, and where.

The key of the report? The state with the highest “flight rate”, and this year, that ignoble distinction goes to…

New Jersey – which is significant for numerous reasons.

The study reveals:

Americans are on the move, relocating to western and southern parts of the country. The results of United Van Lines’ 42nd Annual National Movers Study, which tracks customers’ state-to-state migration patterns over the past year, revealed that more residents moved out of New Jersey than any other state in 2018, with 66.8 percent of New Jersey moves being outbound.

And – finger-in-socket-shocker! – New Jersey was closely followed by its physical and ideological neighbors, New York, and Connecticut…

In the Northeast, however, an outbound moving trend continues. New Jersey (66.8 percent), Connecticut (62 percent) and New York (61.5 percent) were included among the top 10 outbound states for the fourth consecutive year.

Poor Jersey. To be even less popular than New York and Connecticut? That takes some doing…

How in the world can this be? Why would anyone want to leave that wonderful, increasingly collectivist, utopia? Perhaps it’s because individuals and their property are offered less and less respect in New Jersey, that the changes have been dramatic, and the tax and regulatory burden is rising like a flooding tide, far beyond the Jersey Shore, deep enough to reach the Pine Barrens.

Heck, maybe the Jersey Devil will leave the area…


The collectivist New Jersey government -- run at various times by RINO GOP-ers and at others by hardcore leftist Dems – recently has engaged in a massive assault on earnings and a dramatic increase in the burden on businesses.

Just last September, the government hiked the gasoline tax in New Jersey by 4.4 Cents per-gallon -- that atop a 23 cent per-gallon spike instituted in 2016. In all, the state tax on fuel is now 41.4 Cents per-gallon, and that, as Samantha Marcus writes for, is higher than 41 other states.

Not good.

And Marcus notes that the NJ government is grabbing more money from other tax increases, not even associated with its income tax. For example, NJ is imposing a tax on Air BNB and VRBQ operators (perhaps a little political back-scratching for the hotel industry and hotel workers’ unions?); it also is collecting a new tax on E-cigarette sellers, and the state instituted a new tax on online sales.

And that’s not all.

Stay in New Jersey and you win this extra bonus…

As Ben Strachman wrote for the Tax Foundation in July of last year:

As part of the agreement, the top income tax bracket has been increased from 8.97 percent to 10.75 percent on income above $5 million. Businesses earning more than $1 million will also now pay a higher corporate tax rate for the next four years… The state will now tax businesses at the second highest corporate tax rate in the country.

This places people trying to run New Jersey-based businesses in an unenviable position. In fact, the state now claims a particularly ignoble title:

New Jersey also ranks last overall in our State Business Tax Climate Index, and New Jersey businesses will now pay a higher rate than both Pennsylvania’s 9.99 percent and neighboring New York’s 6.5 percent corporate tax rates.

There’s nothing like taxation (i.e. state-run, legalized, extortion and theft) to generate affection for that locale, and, as free market economists have noted over and over, people are voting with their feet, and fleeing from Jersey.

Among the dozens of characters comedian, actor, entrepreneur, and friend of MRCTV Joe Piscopo used to perform on Saturday Night Live was a recurring creation called “Jersey Guy”, whom he used to light-heartedly caricatured his own Jersey background, and who proudly proclaimed, “I’m from Jersey! Are you from Jersey?!”

Some hang in there but politicians keep making it harder, and so lots of folks are leaving.

This drastic increase in the government burden is quite striking, and, in fact, it’s a lesson in federalism, showing the wisdom in the Founders’ idea of decentralization, where people can escape increasingly burdensome governments.

And it’s a lesson in what not to do if one wants to make a political area attractive for business and family prosperity.

Good luck New Jersey residents. The moving trucks will be ready, just in case the politicians don’t learn the important lesson of how to leave their neighbors alone to live free.