Pennsylvania is Shrinking

DECEMBER 21, 2016 | by ELIZABETH STELLE

For the first time in 31 years, Pennsylvania's population is shrinking. The Census Bureau reports Pennsylvania’s total population fell by more than 7,600 last year. In state-to-state migration, one Pennsylvanian left the commonwealth every 11.5 minutes—that's a loss of 46,000 from July 2015 to July 2016.

Nationwide, Pennsylvania is an outlier. We are one of just eight states that lost population. In contrast, many states seeing population growth—including Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, and Idaho—have lower tax burdens than the commonwealth.

A Gallup poll conducted last year found residents in states with higher state and local tax burdens are more likely to want to leave than those in lower-tax states.

Lower taxes starts with limiting government spending. Had Harrisburg limited spending growth to inflation and population since 2000, Pennsylvanians would be saving nearly $22.2 billion in taxes, or $6,952 per family of four.

The Census numbers give further credence to Governor Wolf's efforts to find cost-savings and House Majority Leader Reed's interest in reevaluating how the state delivers services.

Without bold steps to spend responsibly and lighten the tax burden, we'll continue to see fellow Pennsylvanians flee to friendlier tax climates.



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