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SACRAMENTO, CA — A new study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that state taxes have little effect on where people decide to live. Instead, people choose where to plant roots based on job opportunities, family, and the cost of housing.

“The idea that California’s progressive tax structure is driving people away is a myth,” said Kayla Kitson, senior policy analyst at the California Budget & Policy Center. “In reality, people choose where to live based on various factors, including job opportunities, family, and the cost of housing.”

Fast facts from the new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report:

  • California had the 2nd lowest out-migration rate of any state on average from 2011 through 2021 for households with incomes of $200,000 or more. 
  • 83% of households moving out of CA were replaced by households moving in from 2011 through 2021. In fact, 91% of Californians who moved to Florida – which does not have an individual income tax – were replaced by Floridians who moved to California.
  • Most people who move between states are not pursuing lower taxes. When surveyed, a vast majority of movers reported they were moving for jobs or familynot taxes.

“We want quality education for our kids, access to affordable housing and healthcare, and economic opportunities for more of our family members, friends, and neighbors,” said Chris Hoene, executive director of the California Budget & Policy Center. “To do this, California needs an equitable revenue system that produces revenues to support vital public services and better distributes our state’s wealth and resources to help individuals and families who face systemic barriers to economic security in our state.”

Link to report: https://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/8-9-23sfp.pdf 

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The California Budget & Policy Center is a nonpartisan research and analysis nonprofit advancing public policies that expand opportunities and promote well-being for all Californians.

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