Marylanders move in droves to Virginia

July 5, 2012

By Emily Hatton and Elizabeth Sallie-The Washington Times

Maryland lost the most residents in the mid-Atlantic between 2007 and 2010 — and many of them moved to Virginia, according to a study released Tuesday.

Almost 40,000 Marylanders crossed the Potomac River for new homes in Virginia, taking $2.17 billion with them, according to the Internal Revenue Service data used in the study conducted by Change Maryland, a nonpartisan group advocating for less state spending and lower taxes.

The high level of loss may reflect people’s dissatisfaction with Maryland’s tax policy, said Jim Pettit, spokesman for Change Maryland.

“People vote with their feet,” he said, adding that tax policies “absolutely” are tied to the number of people leaving the state. Critics have said Maryland has less-friendly tax policies than Virginia, and new income-tax increases for the state’s highest earners went into effect Sunday.

The study analyzed data from the IRS Statistics of Income Division to show county-by-county changes in the state’s tax base. The numbers represent people who have left Maryland for Virginia and do not take into account people who have moved to the state and their income levels.

According to Change Maryland, the Free State suffered a larger loss in its tax base than 43 other states.

“The benefits of a growing tax base ease the pressure to raise revenues and, conversely, a shrinking tax base often leads to a troublesome tax-and-spend downward spiral as actual revenues fail to meet estimates,” said Change Maryland ChairmanLarry Hogan.

Decreasing population was most prevalent in larger jurisdictions, according to Change Maryland.

Prince George’s County lost more than 44,000 people, and 36,600 left Baltimore County.

Montgomery County’s tax base declined by $22 million.

Change Maryland found only six states that lost more people in the three-year period: New York, California, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and New Jersey.

Nearby, the District lost more than 1,100 residents; Pennsylvania lost more than 8,200. Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia, on the other hand, gained tax filers, according to Change Maryland.

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