Mass. Exodus - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Mass. Exodus

In the past five years almost a quarter of a million people have fled Massachusetts for greener pastures. This week the candidates for governor offered their solutions for staunching the flow and, if possible, luring some ex-pats back. What does Democrat Chris Gabrieli propose? Why, invest $1 billion of taxpayer money in embryonic stem cell research, of course.

I didn’t make that up. Gabrieli actually thinks that would keep Massachusetts residents from hauling their families to the South and Midwest, where the cost of living is lower and the weather and people are considerably more agreeable. He thinks the “investment” would create high-tech jobs, and evidently he thinks the people leaving Massachusetts are all highly qualified medical researchers.

Gabrieli had by far the dumbest proposal, but he wasn’t the only one whose plan to keep residents in the state would end up increasing the exodus.

Democrat Deval Patrick wants to hike the minimum wage by $2 an hour and build high-speed commuter rail between Boston and satellite communities Worcester and New Bedford. Yes, Bay Staters are fleeing to Tennessee and Texas because Massachusetts doesn’t have enough high-speed rail or business regulations.

Those who left Massachusetts told the Boston Globe in a survey last week that a better job and lower cost of living were the top two reasons they left. Massachusetts has a good high-tech job sector in and around Boston, but in general it is quite not so hot at creating new jobs. The Tax Foundation ranks Massachusetts 27th in business tax climate. Neighboring New Hampshire ranks sixth. Oh, and New Hampshire has experienced massive population and job growth — the best in New England — this decade. The New England Economic Partnership predicted this month that New Hampshire will lead New England in economic growth through 2010, with Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine at the bottom.

Hmmm… how might New Hampshire differ from Massachusetts? Massachusetts is much larger and is home to a major American seaport, multiple world-class universities, and a major transportation hub. New Hampshire is small, rural and relatively isolated. Hmmmm….

Oh, yeah, Massachusetts’ per capita tax burden is nearly $4,000 higher than New Hampshire’s.

New Hampshire’s population is booming along its southern border, which it shares with Massachusetts. That is where the Massachusetts expats have settled. Conventional wisdom in New Hampshire is that those Bay Staters have brought their liberal politics with them. It isn’t true. Those communities consistently vote Republican — and conservative Republican. The most ardent anti-taxers you’ll find in New Hampshire are the Massachusetts expats who live along the southern border.

Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey gets it. To keep her residents from leaving, she proposed cutting state income tax rate to 5 percent, cutting the unemployment insurance rate, and offering tax-free savings accounts for first-time home-buyers. If she wins, New Hampshire had better watch out.

If she doesn’t win, well, she can always move to New Hampshire.

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