Pennsylvanians are Voting with Their Feet

I wonder how many believe that forgoing new taxes and cutting back spending would lead the state of Pennsylvania to the “post apocalyptic landscape of Cormac McCarthy’s novel soon-to-be-movie, The Road.� Such is the assertion of Ed Rendell and many Pennsylvania Democrats supporting his runaway spending and tax hikes. They assert, cuts in spending will mean the end of education and agriculture, the loss of law enforcement and health care.

But even though Rendell’s policies won him reelection, he is losing with another type of voter, the folks who are voting with their feet.

Pennsylvania is in the bottom half of the country in the Tax Foundation’s 2008 State Business Tax Climate Index, and has the 11th highest tax burden in the country. As a result, the Commonwealth lost 12,000 residents to other states last year, and 58,000 since 2000, according to the US Census. Pennsylvania is also the fourth highest state in outbound moves according to United Van Lines’ 2007 Migration study.

The metropolitan areas of Pennsylvania, namely Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, has seen a steady outflow of people. According to a report by the Tax Foundation, “Philadelphia is one of just six of America’s twenty largest cities by population that impose a city-or county-level tax measured by compensation, be it a tax on wages, earned income, or occupational privilege.� With the most mobile population living in large cities, movement to the suburbs or to neighboring states is not uncommon.