December 24, 2008

The Comings and Goings

Justin Katz

I've been meaning to update the Census component of my analysis of RI's taxpayer exodus (as I did with the related IRS data), but time has been too short.

In the meantime, mull over this conspicuous paragraph from a Providence Journal article on the Census data:

Census Bureau spokesman Robert Bernstein said that between July '07 and July '08, there was a natural increase of about 3,600 more births than deaths in Rhode Island, and a "net international migration gain" of 2,900 people who moved here from abroad. But those increases "weren't enough to offset a loss of 8,800 people who left Rhode Island for other states."

Increasing foreign immigrants. Population growth based on births. But Rhode Islanders leaving in such numbers as to swamp both. One needn't be a demographic specialist to make some inferences.

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Hint: Wealthy European tax refugees are not abandoning Monaco for the charms of the Ocean State, or the demands by Kate Brewster that the rich pay "their fair share"...

Posted by: John at December 24, 2008 11:01 AM

The true "rich" (not the RI Future / Poverty Institute / Democrat "rich") might have a second home / condo in Rhode Island - but didn't get rich by being stupid (Patrick Kennedy excluded) - so they absolutely do not establish residency in Rhode Island, or establish businesses here. It would not be economically rational for them to do so.

Meanwhile, the "undocumented" / "underprivileged" keep moving here - for our generous "social services" "safety net" makes it economically rational for them to move here, and reproduce once "signed up."

Finally, the middle class - whether by seeing the writing on the wall or out of unemployment-driven compulsion - increasingly find that the economically rational thing to do is to leave Rhode Island (as their college graduated children have been doing for years).

Posted by: Tom W at December 24, 2008 2:12 PM

Rich, middle class, immigrants are all I hear talk about when it comes to census numbers.

You are missing a whole class of people moving out of RI in droves for a better life.

That is the retiree.

RI tax laws provide no tax relief for the retiree except $250 property tax exemption if the retiree’s income is $30,000 and below.

Only Railroad Retirement benefits are exempt in RI. RI fully taxes all retirement income including out-of-state, military retirement income and Social Security.

Other states embrace retirees and provide tax relief where RI just continues to suck the living blood out of you even with the RI death tax after you die!

Posted by: Ken at December 24, 2008 4:47 PM

Productive, intelligent white people (Yes I said it!) leaving in droves.
Third World (black and brown-yes I said it!) leeches with their hands out pouring in.
Corrupt cronies and welfare maggots dug in like the French at Verdun.
All in all:
A fine stew for Pat Crowley's RI Future.
Merry Christ's Mass.

Posted by: Mike at December 24, 2008 8:49 PM


Unusually (as you are usually quite thorough, which I appreciate), you forgot to mention one further incentive for retirees to flee Rhode Island: we have one of the most onerous estate/death tax structures in the nation -- far worse than the federal system.

As you note, for retirees, the price of staying in RI is very high indeed. Hence, like you, more and more of them are leaving.

Posted by: John at December 24, 2008 9:12 PM


Certain details presume too much, without evidence, and aren't necessary toward the argument, in any case. Indeed, they hinder conveyance of the message that we must get people to acknowledge.

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 24, 2008 11:06 PM


You missed my last paragraph above where I addressed the RI onerous estate/death tax.

Anyways, the fighting Irish of the University of Notre Dame destroyed University of Hawaii at the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl today Christmas Eve (my afternoon and your night) in Honolulu.

As you note more and more of us retirees are moving out of RI for tax survival and there is also another undocumented resource that RI is loosing out on which is our industrial knowledge we take with us.

Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau'oli Makahiki Hou (Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year)!

Posted by: Ken at December 25, 2008 12:15 AM

Xmas greetings to all from sunny and warm southwest Flahridda. At age 58, I am wrestling with the issues Ken has raised over time. I'm not retired yet, have a business that can be served over the internet- along with a few trips to client locations- and have seen that living is easier and cheaper elsewhere. I have almost no RI customers. There still are several years worth of potential tax fleecings by RI before I retire, but that might not happen because they are simply too greedy and provide so little value/services for the money. For tax planning purposes ahead of an anticipated sale of an IP, 2009 might very well be the year to turn the winter place into the legal residence and turn the RI residence into the summer place. Lessee, own a FL home - check, re-registering and keeping a RI car here - check, opportunity to vote and have that vote really count - unprecedented. And that doesn't even begin to address the death taxes, which will not my problem, strictly speaking.

I'll be back - for a while, but my heart ain't in it.

A closing anecdote. I needed information on re-registering my car. I phoned the local FL DMV office. I was not put on interminable hold. The polite man I spoke with was well-informed and didn't make me feel like he was doing me an immense favor by deigning to speak with me. In two minutes, I got the information I needed and in the next three minutes, I was able to find out the steps for my son to buy a car locally and then drive it north and register it in RI. Doesn't this comparison exemplify what's wrong with the state of RI?

Posted by: chuckR at December 25, 2008 11:49 AM
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