Big Labor Bosses’ Politicians Squeezing Life Out Of States
Forced-Dues States Face Mounting Income Losses
Day Is Coming When Big Labor Politicians Must ‘Face
For decades, hardworking taxpayers have been fleeing
slow-growth states that permit the firing of employees for refusal to bankroll
an unwanted union and relocating in faster-growth Right to Work states, where
such firings are impermissible.
Considered as a group, the 23 states that still lack Right
to Work laws are now on track to lose roughly $200 billion in income to
domestic out-migration from 2010 to 2020, or 30% more (in constant dollars)
than they lost from 2000 to 2010.
“What will it take,” asked National Right to Work Committee
President Mark Mix, “to convince elected officials in forced-unionism states
that are economically torpid or unaffordable, or both, that their current
policies governing labor relations aren’t working, and need to be changed?
From 2015 to 2016, a Net Total Of Nearly 180,000
Taxpayers Moved to Right to Work States
“If nothing else shakes the com- placency of Big Labor politicians who don’t
seem to mind if far more taxpayers are leaving their state than are moving in,”
noted Mr. Mix, “one day in the not-too-distant future shrinking revenue bases
will require them to wake up.”
Thanks to data furnished by the Statistics of Income (SOI)
division of the IRS, it has for many years now been possible to calculate the
sum total of wages, salaries, and other income taxpayers take with them when
they flee forced-dues states.
The SOI division records the number of personal income tax
filers who move (typically with their dependents, if they have any) across
state lines, based on address changes shown on their tax returns. The SOI data
are arranged according to the year taxes are filed.
For example, the most recent available annual data (for the
Tax Filing Year 2016) show that a total of 1.78 million tax filers were
residing in a Right to Work state that year after residing somewhere else in
the U.S. the previous year.
(Since the ban on compulsory union dues and fees in
Kentucky, the most recent state to enact and begin enforcing a Right to Work
law, was not adopted until the beginning of 2017, it is regarded as a
forced-dues state in this analysis.
Wisconsin and West Virginia, whose Right to Work laws were
not passed and signed until 2015 and 2016, respectively, are excluded.)
Meanwhile, roughly 1.60 million tax filers were residing in
a Right to Work state in 2015, but filed from somewhere else in the U.S. in
That means a net total of roughly 180,000 tax filers moved
from a forced-unionism state to a Right to Work state between 2015 and 2016.
Forced-Dues States Lost An Average of $75,958 Per Fleeing
The SOI division also calculates and makes public the
aggregate adjusted gross incomes for tax filers in the year immediately
following their move from one state to another.
Personal income tax filers moving out of a forced-unionism
state between 2015 and 2016 reported a total of $128.8 billion in income in
2016, or $75,958 per filer.
Tax filers moving into a forced-unionism state reported a
total of $104.5 billion in income, or $68,763 per filer.
Both because of their substantial taxpayer losses due to net
domestic out-migration, and because the taxpayers they gained reported nearly
$7200 less income apiece than the tax filers they lost, forced-unionism states
lost a net total of $24.3 billion in adjusted gross income in a single year.
Moreover, all of the seven states (New York, Illinois, New
Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California and Ohio) suffering the worst
losses of income, in absolute terms, due to taxpayer out-migration from 2015 to
2016, lack Right to Work laws.
(See the chart located to the left for additional
Financial Cost Suffered by Big Labor-Ruled States Compounds
Over the past five years for which SOI data are available,
compulsory-unionism states collectively lost a total of $96.3 billion (2017
dollars) in adjusted gross income.
And the migration data furnished by the IRS indicating a
loss for forced-dues states of approximately $200 billion over the course of
this decade do not convey how much taxpayers who flee forced-unionism states
earn any later than the first year after they depart.
The financial cost endured by Big Labor-ruled states
actually compounds and recurs, year after year.
The accumulated net loss from 2010 to 2020, including income
reported by taxpayers in all years subsequent to their migration, cannot be
calculated, but will very likely be at least four times higher than what the
IRS data reveal.
Power to Withhold Union Dues From Big Labor Critical For
State Right to Work laws protect employees’ freedom to
refuse to pay dues or fees to an unwanted union. Wherever employees lack this
freedom, union bosses have little incentive to tone down their class warfare in
Employees are consequently far less likely to reach their
full productive potential.
“Compulsory unionism is wrong, plain and simple,” affirmed Mr.
“It is also an economic albatross for America as a whole as
our nation strives at last to emerge from more than a decade of recession and
Mr. Mix explained that, while states that fail to shield
employees from federal pro-forced unionism policies are harmed most of all, the
entire country suffers severe damage:
“The union-label politicians who regularly get elected and
reelected because of Big Labor’s forced dues-funded support overwhelmingly
favor higher taxes and more red-tape regulation of business.
“This is true at the federal, state and local levels.
Private-sector job growth in all 50 states, including Right to Work states, is
hindered by the actions of Big Labor politicians.”
Big Labor Stronghold States Stand on the Brink Of Fiscal
“Meanwhile,” Mr. Mix continued, “a number of the states with
the highest shares of their employees subject to monopolistic unionism now
stand on the brink of fiscal catastrophe.”
He cited the example of once-prosperous New Jersey, where
nearly two-thirds of government workers today are under union
“According to state Senate President Steve Sweeney
[Gloucester], who himself is an active ironworkers union boss as well as a
public officeholder, New Jersey faces at least $222 billion in long-term
government pension and unfunded post-retirement medical liabilities.
“And over just the next four years, Mr. Sweeney declares,
the amount of taxpayer money that’s required to be paid annually into the
government worker pension system will more than double, from $3.2 billion to
“This is money New Jersey simply doesn’t have.”
‘Before It Runs Out of Taxpayers, New Jersey Will Have to
Big Labor Garden State politicians like current Gov. Phil
Murphy have tried again and again to replenish government coffers by hiking
taxes ever higher, but such maneuvers only succeed in driving away additional
taxpayers, as the IRS’s SOI data show.
“Before it runs out of taxpayers, New Jersey will have to
face the facts and change course,” reasoned Mr. Mix.
“And one reform that is absolutely indispensable for a
return to solvency is enactment of a Right to Work law prohibiting the
termination of employees for refusal to join or pay dues or fees to an unwanted
“Decades of experience show that it is effectively impossible
to break the cycle of ever higher taxes and government spending as long as a
state’s Big Government politicians continue being propped up by the forced
dues-fueled union political machine.
“In fact, according to the most recent analysis conducted by
the nonpartisan, Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation, state and local taxes
combined consume a 25% higher share of personal income in jurisdictions where
the Right to Work is not protected.
“Today, it may seem like the political opposition to Right
to Work in union boss-controlled states like New Jersey is insurmountable. But
New York, Illinois and New Jersey can’t continue hemorrhaging taxpayers
“Before too many more years go by, it will become apparent that the Right to Work is inevitable.”