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Voting with their feet

Every now and then, I feel a twinge of remorse for my nigh-relentless Massachusetts bashing. After all, I have some friends who live there, and the state has given us some pretty good things, too. And every now and then I am reminded of just why I feel the need to shout as loudly as I can (thanks for the world-wide megaphone, Kevin) about just how wrong-headed the politicians in Massachusetts can be, to give an abject lesson to the rest of us of what not to do.

That happened again yesterday, when reports came out that Massachusetts was hemorrhaging people at an alarming rate -- about 42,000 a year since 2000, or approximately 6.6 people per thousand. New York was the only one to fare worse, with 9.6 people per thousand deciding to make like a tree and get out.

Massachusetts officials are understandably worried. Not only could this cost them clout in Washington the next time Congressional seats are reapportioned (they lost one seat in 2000), but the folks fleeing are mostly the ones who pay (and pay and pay) the taxes that keep the Bay State creaking along. About the only sector of population in Massachusetts showing any real growth is among the illegal alien community -- and they tend to consume more in services than they pay for in taxes.

Naturally, everyone is looking for reasons why this is happening. One theory (bolstered by the refusal of some Katrina refugees to go to Massachusetts) is the climate. New England has cold, bitter winters (this last one being a bit of an aberration). Why not go where it's warmer?

That theory lasted about as long as it took to look at the numbers from Vermont, Maine, and my own beloved Cow Hampshire. We're all growing just fine and dandy, and if anything we have worse weather.

Another reason cited is the loss of a lot of high-tech jobs in the Bay State. They don't want to look too closely at this one, though, because that would force them to ask just why so many companies are choosing to relocate. They usually do that for greener economic pastures -- a less burdensome tax structure, a more business-friendly government, and the like. On those counts, Massachusetts is sorely lacking.

Yet another reason being tossed around is the high cost of housing in Massachusetts. But a lot of factors in housing costs are influenced by general political factors -- taxes on property owners, tight housing regulations, rigid zoning laws and the like. Here in Cow Hampshire, our property tax rates are pretty high -- in some places, we're creeping up to $30.00 per $1,000 of assessed value annually, while Raymond sticks out like a sore thumb at $34.66/thousand -- but again, we're GAINING. In fact, we came in 6th in per-capita growth.

People tend to get the kind of government they deserve. And when folks realize that the government they have isn't doing what they need to do, they either change it, live with it, or get the hell out. The politicians in Massachusetts have made it incredibly hard to do the first (they've figured out how to ignore voter referendums, for example -- they either just don't vote to fund and enforce them, or just pretend they never happened), and it's getting tougher and tougher to do the second. That just leaves the third choice -- and that's the one more and more folks are taking.

Will the last sane person to leave Massachusetts please turn out Ted Kennedy's bright red nose the light?


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Comments (8)

People tend to get the kind... (Below threshold)
LJD:

People tend to get the kind of government they deserve. And when folks realize that the government they have isn't doing what they need to do, they either change it, live with, or get the hell out.

Unfortunately for us, they're bringing their screwed up values with them. They want smoking bans, gun control, gay marriage... On property development, they want their new half million dollar palace constructed, then limit development for all who follow- NIMBY. Just great!

We're all growing just f... (Below threshold)
just me:

We're all growing just fine and dandy, and if anything we have worse weather.

Yes, but at least in NH we do a better job of plowing the roads. Friend of mine who works in Boston showed me the road outside his office after a really bad storm, and the road had been plowed, but looked worse than my driveway, which was shoveled, not plowed.

That said-tax burden I think has a lot to do with where people live, and while the property taxes in NH can be very high, there aren't a whole lot of other taxes, and you pretty much know what your tax bill is going to be.

I do think that too many people leave, and bring their politics with them-I don't think they grasp that the tax burden they were fleeing was that way, because of their politics.

In the course of my career,... (Below threshold)
Charles Bannerman:

In the course of my career, I have lived in 17 states and visited all 50. The 2 places I hate the most are Boston and Detroit. The wind never blows in either place- it sucks.
Chuck

Remember all the allergy su... (Below threshold)
Judith:

Remember all the allergy suffers who moved to Arizona, then they imported their allergy-producing plants to feel more at home? Well, look out, the Massachusetts liberals are moving away from the cost of Massachusetts but will force their attitudes (and resulting costs for such attitudes) upon New Hampshire. Remember "You'll love it here" as opposed to Live Free or Die? I know the latter made a comeback, but the evidence of the first statement is a clue as to what Massachusetts liberals have in mind for your neck of the woods. God help you!

About property tax rates...... (Below threshold)
ken:

About property tax rates... don't forget there's 2 variables (rate and assessed value). Raymond's rate is more than double what our rate is - but I have to assume the assessed values are a lot lower there. I'd be interested to compare house size to tax amount between towns. Anyway... the most important thing is does the town spend money like a drunken GOP congressman? Is the money spent wisely or is it wasted?

I ran away from MA to centr... (Below threshold)

I ran away from MA to central FL. I was tired of being taxed to death only to enjoy the giant crater sized potholes, badly plowed streets, poor water service, run down schools with no discernable playground, and ashtray beaches. Just where is all that tax money going?

"...deciding to make li... (Below threshold)

"...deciding to make like a tree and get out."

Umm....

TC:"Umm..."... (Below threshold)
cheshirecat:

TC:
"Umm..."

It's a Back to the Future reference, don't panic.




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