On October 24, as part of the Heartland Institute’s Author Series, Travis H. Brown spoke to promote the debut of his book entitled, “How Money Walks”. Brown completed his undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Missouri, and his MBA at Washington University in St. Louis. After lobbying in an extensive part of the country, he co- founded and is the current CEO of Pelopidas, LLC, a public affairs and advocacy firm located in St. Louis.
Brown’s book explores how taxing personal income affects economic growth by movement of people in between states and counties. The variables that Brown uses to determine economic status of each area are population and an individual’s income. The net loss or gains are measured by either adding or deducting a person’s income from the state’s total net worth. The data shows that people are leaving states and counties that pose a high income tax, to states with lower or no income taxes. This movement is exemplified by Illinois, who has one of the highest income taxes in the country and, subsequently a negative net worth. People are moving from Illinois to states such as Florida, who have no income tax and a state with one of the highest net gains.
In regards to income tax, Illinois is part of the 7 states that impose a flat rate. There are only 8 states that do not have an income tax. All of the states that have no income taxes show a net gain, while the states with the highest taxes, Oregon and California topping the list, exemplify Brown’s data by having the highest net losses. This data can be found on Brown’s interactive map, which shows where people are moving on both the state and national level. The maps can be found on his website, and are also available as an interactive app on iPhone and Android devices.
The people are speaking with the movement of their wallets. Money talks, and politicians should listen.[Editor's note: The public is welcome to attend Heartland's Author Series events located at One East Wacker, in Chicago's Loop. Tickets and event information can be found on our website here.]