Video: NJPP’s Sheila Reynertson Busts the ‘Tax Flight’ Myth

“People are fleeing the Garden State and they’re taking all their wealth with them. Or, are they?”

With that essential question as a lead-in, NJTV News last week turned to New Jersey Policy Perspective to shed some light on the myths and the facts about who is moving in and out of New Jersey, why they do and what it means for the state’s wellbeing.

The coverage coincided with the release of NJPP’s new report, The ‘Exodus’ is More Like a Trickle: Taxes Aren’t Shrinking New Jersey, and featured our Senior Policy Analyst Sheila Reynertson.

“The mass exodus … doesn’t really exist,” she told NJTV. “On average we have a net loss of about 9,000 people per year. That’s nothing new for New Jersey. We are traditionally an outmigration state as are many northeastern states.”

That’s about a tenth of New Jersey’s total population. The reasons people leave are complex, according to the report. Reynertson used IRS data from outmigration states for the last decade, from 2003 to 2014.

“Taxes really aren’t the reason why people are leaving New Jersey. They leaving for job opportunities and for family considerations,” Reynertson added. “If cost of living is a factor it’s usually housing costs or seeking out lower property taxes.”