(Editor’s Note: The following editorial appeared in the Las Vegas Review Journal on Monday)
On the Move
Nevadans forced to write a big fat check to the IRS on Monday can at least take solace in the fact that they didn’t also have to send a payment to Carson City. Nevada is one of just seven states without an income tax.
Residents of our neighbor to the west, however, aren’t so lucky. And California’s quest to feed its ever-growing public sector offers yet another example of how Nevada gains from the Golden State’s economically destructive agenda.
Consider that according to IRS data, the residents of Douglas County — population about 47,000 — in Northern Nevada have the highest average adjusted gross income in the state. That shouldn’t be surprising, considering it features expensive real estate on and near Lake Tahoe.
But the figures also show that as many as 10,000 residents in Douglas County — and in nearby Washoe County — are newcomers from the San Francisco area who fled California’s punishing tax climate. Many of these transplants report incomes in the six figures or higher.
In 2012, Californians passed Proposition 30, which retroactively jacked income tax rates on the state’s highest earners. By 2018, state residents making more than $1 million a year will send 13.3 percent of their earnings to Sacramento — above and beyond what they already owe in city income taxes or to the federal government.
Not surprisingly, many people have voted with their feet and hit the road.
“Whether you sympathize or not,” San Francisco Chronicle columnist Kathleen Pender wrote in 2014, “millionaires’ migrating out of California has serious consequences to the state’s bottom line and is something state leaders are watching closely.”
That’s because, Ms. Pender points out, “in 2011, the top 1 percent of tax returns accounted for 41 percent of the state’s personal income tax revenues, and that was before Proposition 30 raised rates on the rich.”
For years, Nevada has welcomed with open arms business owners seeking to escape California’s stifling regulatory apparatus, even running ad campaigns designed to lure entrepreneurs and corporate enterprises looking for a friendlier environment.
Likewise, Nevada real estate agents, retailers, restaurants, casinos, car dealers and other businesses are surely more than happy to embrace the arrival of thousands of wealthy Californians and their checkbooks. And since the Golden State’s progressive political machine shows no signs of reversing course, Nevada stands to benefit for years to come.