Blue city exodus could accelerate because of the GOP tax cut

A columnist for the Hill published a piece today outlining what she calls the “great exodus” out of America’s bluest cities. This is a well-established trend, one which our own Jazz Shaw has written about as recently as January. The author of the Hill piece argues that the GOP tax cut is about to put this trend into overdrive:

The recently passed tax bill, which repeals the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, will only speed up the exodus. Thanks to the bill’s passage, many New York taxpayers will save little or nothing despite a cut in the federal rate. The state’s highest earners — who have been footing an outsized share of the bill — will pay tens of thousands of dollars more in income taxes in 2018. In New York alone, loss of the SALT deduction will remove $72 billion a year in tax deductions and affect 3.4 million residents.

If the loss of the state and local deductions are made up for by federal cuts, people won’t be any worse off. But it does mean they are essentially paying more for the privilege of living in those high tax areas.

And make no mistake: What’s happening in the Big Apple is a microcosm of what’s happening in the nation’s blue states, cities and towns. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago — the places where power and capital have traditionally congregated — have become so over-regulated, so overpriced and mismanaged, and so morally bankrupt and soft on crime that people are leaving in droves. Of course, these high-tax cities are the same places hit hardest by the removal of the SALT deduction…

In 2016 the Golden State lost almost 143,000 net residents to other states — that figure is an 11 percent increase from 2015. Between 2005 and 2015, Los Angeles and San Francisco alone lost 250,000 residents. The largest socioeconomic segment moving from California is the upper-middle class. The state is home to some of the most burdensome taxes and regulations in the nation. Meanwhile, its social engineering — from green energy to wealth redistribution — have made many working families poorer. As California begins its long decline, the influx outward is picking up in earnest.

The point of the piece is to suggest one way the blue cities and states could reverse the outward tide is to cut taxes. That’s probably true, but is there any chance of that happening in one-party California? I don’t think so.

It’s not just the cost of living that’s driving people out. It’s also the quality of life. Last week the Mayor of San Francisco announced a crackdown on the homeless erecting tents camps along city streets and, frequently, using the sidewalk as a bathroom. A local news report in February found human feces and used drug needles could be encountered on nearly every block in a large area downtown. One transplant to the city said she had to get used to the overpowering stench of urine and the sparkle of broken glass along the sidewalk every few blocks. She eventually learned the glass was the result of dozens of smash-and-grab car thefts which happen every day.

Meanwhile in New York last week, the Mayor launched a new effort to get tough on rats. His PR stunt for the effort didn’t go so well. One of the rats he promised to eradicate escaped the city’s new kinder and gentler approach to extermination (using dry ice). City workers tried, unsuccessfully, to kill it the old fashioned way with a boot and a shovel. The rat ran off, likely to live a long life.

Both of these efforts, the homeless crackdown out west and the rat extermination back east, have been tried and failed many times before. People living in these areas probably don’t place too much stock in promises that things are about to change. Add to that the extremely high taxes and cost of living in these areas and you have a situation that a lot of people probably think is less than ideal.