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January 3, 2019

The Purpling of America

IPI expert referenced: Merrill Matthews | In The News | Media Hit
  One News Now

By Chris Woodward

It's no surprise to see people moving from high-tax to low-tax states – but the resulting political impact is gaining some attention.

"The data coming out of the Census Bureau can be fairly tricky, but the Cato Institute examined this and published a paper in September which highlights something similar," says Merrill Matthews, Ph.D. of the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI). "People are leaving Illinois, New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Michigan and they're heading to states like Florida, Washington, North Carolina, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon and Texas – and the thing is that many of these states where they're going tend to be low-tax states."

He explains that for some people, climate is a reason. Others, he adds, want affordable housing. "A lot of times it just simply wanting to get lower taxes – and so people are voting with their feet," Matthews offers.

Why then do people leaving "Blue" states bring their Blue state politics with them to a state offering a less-expensive lifestyle?

"That is the critical question that hasn't been studied very well," answers Matthews. "I would argue that one of the reasons why Virginia has moved from reliably Red to generally Blue is because people from Washington, DC, and high-tax Maryland have been moving to northern Virginia and voting Blue in that state."

Matthews points to the recent U.S. Senate election in Texas between Democratic U.S. Congressman Beto O'Rourke and incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

"Texas is one of the primary states where people from California and other states are moving," he continues. "I have to say that Beto was a good candidate from the Democratic side, but we're seeing this over and over again; and we see it in Arizona where voters elected a Democrat in the U.S. Senate."

That, says Matthews, is all the more reason why advocates of less government need to be more vocal about why their state has lower taxes, more affordable housing, etc.

"Liberals have trouble learning lessons, and so they don't ever seem to think it's their regulations and high taxes that create the problems," he explains. "[To them] it's always something else – and so they often times take those policies with them."


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