Taxpayers Fleeing Forced-Unionism States

Mark Mix: Forced unionism is "an economic albatross for many states and for America as a whole." Credit

National Right to Work Law Could Finally Stop the Hemorrhaging

(Source:  January 2012 National Right to Work Committee Newsletter)

Perhaps the single most effective tool for measuring the long-term, ongoing migration of taxpayers and income out of forced-unionism states and into Right to Work states is furnished by the Statistics of Income (SOI) division of the IRS.

And today any interested person can easily access SOI data through a data bank maintained on the web site of the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation.

Forced-Unionism States Are Losing Massive Amounts of Income as Well as People

The SOI 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 individual tax returns. The SOI data are arranged according to the year taxes are filed.

For example, data for the Tax Filing Year 2010 show that a total of 1.35 million personal income tax filers were residing that year in a Right to Work state after residing somewhere else in the U.S. the previous year.

Meanwhile, fewer than 1.23 million tax filers were residing in a Right to Work state in 2009, but filed from somewhere else in the U.S. in 2010.

Because the U.S. Senate held a recorded floor vote on federal forced-dues repeal in 2009, it will be far easier to hold Big Labor politicians like Sen. Bob Casey (right) accountable in this year's elections. Credit: Molly Theobold for aflcio2008/Wikimedia Commons

That means a net total of 124,000 tax filers moved from a forced-unionism state to a Right to Work state between 2009 and 2010.

The SOI division also calculates and makes available to the public the aggregate adjusted gross incomes for tax filers in the year immediately following their move.

Personal income tax filers moving to a Right to Work state between 2009 and 2010 reported a total of nearly $61 billion in income in 2010, or $45,166 per filer.

Tax filers moving out of a Right to Work state over the same period reported a total of $50.7 billion in income in 2010, or $41,534 per filer.

Both because of their substantial taxpayer losses due to net domestic out-migration, and because the taxpayers they gained earned significantly less per capita than the taxpayers they lost, forced-dues states lost a total of nearly $10.3 billion in adjusted gross income in a single year.

Forced-Unionism States’ Income Losses Are Recurring and Compounding

While IRS data do not convey how much taxpayers who flee forced-unionism states earn any later than the first year after they depart, forced-unionism states’ losses due to domestic out-migration are clearly recurring and compounding, year after year.

Over the last decade for which data are available (Tax Filing Years 2001 through 2010), a net total of more than 3.7 million tax filers and dependents moved from a forced-unionism state to a Right to Work state.

Throughout this period as a whole, the average income for a tax filer moving to a Right to Work state was roughly $4200 higher (in 2010 dollars) than the average for a tax filer leaving a Right to Work state.

Counting just the income forfeited in the first year after each tax filer moved out, forced-unionism states lost a net total of nearly $140 billion (in constant 2010 dollars) due to domestic out-migration over this 10-year period.

Power to Withhold Union Dues From Big Labor Absolutely Critical For Workers

The actual net loss over the decade, including income reported by taxpayers in all years subsequent to their migration, is very likely at least five times higher, but cannot be calculated with available data.

The 22 state Right to Work laws now on the books 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 the workplace.

Employees are consequently far less likely to reach their full productive potential and reap the accompanying benefits.

Year after year, far more taxpayers are moving into Right to Work states than are moving out of them. And forced-unionism states are consequently losing enormous amounts of income (and tax revenue) as well as people. Source: IRS Statistics of Income division, via the Tax Foundation

“Compulsory unionism is wrong, plain and simple,” affirmed Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee.

“It is also an economic albatross for many states and for America as a whole as our economy struggles to recover from the worst recession in decades.

“Twelve of the 13 states suffering the worst net losses of annual income, in dollar terms, due to taxpayer out-migration over the past decade lack Right to Work laws.

“The sole exception is Louisiana, which was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.” (See the chart on page eight for more information.)

Mr. Mix added that, while states that fail to shield employees from federal pro-forced unionism policies are harmed most of all, the country as a whole suffers severe damage:

“Union bosses funnel a huge chunk of the forced dues and fees they collect with federal labor law’s abetment into politics.

“And the union-label politicians who routinely get elected and reelected because of Big Labor’s forced dues-funded support overwhelmingly favor higher taxes and more red-tape regulation of businesses.

“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.”

Recorded Votes Help Pro-Right to Work Citizens Turn up the Heat on Big Labor Politicians

To end the abuse of independent-minded employees and the economic wreckage wrought by compulsory unionism, the Committee is backing legislation (H.R.2040 and S.504) that would eliminate from federal labor law all provisions authorizing forced union dues and fees.

At this time, the Committee’s immediate goal is a recorded floor vote on H.R.2040, the House version of forced-dues repeal.

“Because the Committee and Sen. Jim DeMint [R-S.C.] successfully pressed for a floor roll call on forced-dues repeal in 2009, Big Labor senators seeking reelection this year like Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey are feeling the heat from their constituents now for voting against Right to Work,” Mr. Mix explained.

“If Speaker John Boehner [R-Ohio] now keeps his 2010 campaign pledge to allow a House recorded floor vote on forced-dues repeal, pro-Right to Work citizens will know as well which House members support employees’ personal freedom of choice, and which are Big Labor stooges.

“Poll after poll shows nearly 80% of Americans who regularly vote in federal elections support the Right to Work principle.

“A recorded House vote now, even if unsuccessful, will advance the Right to Work cause by letting millions and millions of grass-roots Right to Work supporters know whether or not their U.S. representative is on their side.

“That’s why this winter the Committee is mobilizing members nationwide to contact Speaker Boehner and ask him to bring up H.R.2040 for a floor vote as soon as he reasonably can.”