Maybe if California and New York Cared as Much about the Middle Class as They Do About Illegal Alien…

Economists Arthur Laffer (the guy with the famous curve) and Stephen Moore, a leading libertarian voice for mass immigration, predict that some 800,000 people will pack up and leave California and New York over the next three years. The reason they cite for the exodus in their Wall Street Journal op-ed is that the new federal tax law, which eliminates deductions for state income taxes, will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Implicit in their assignment of blame to the federal tax overhaul is that the people who will be leaving are the ones who pay taxes – the sort of folks that state and local governments rely to provide a revenue stream. As such, one would think that these would be the people whose concerns would get a lot of interest in Sacramento and Albany. But clearly that is not the case.

For the privilege of living in places like the Bay Area, Los Angeles, or New York City, you must bear some of the most ridiculous housing costs in the nation, along with crushing state and local taxes. In California, be prepared to turn over as much as 13.3 percent of your income to the state. High-earning New Yorkers fork over a more modest 8.82 percent, but if you live in the five boroughs you can tack on an additional 3.87 percent in city income taxes. California and New York also have some of the highest sales tax rates in the country at 8.54 percent and 8.49 percent respectively (and higher in many cities). And now, as Laffer and Moore point out, you can’t even deduct those costs on your federal taxes.

One might also think that for all these state and local taxes, residents could expect the most modern infrastructure, efficient public transportation, world class public schools, affordable housing, and other amenities. Ha. No, in Sacramento and Albany they prioritize an ever-growing list of public benefits and services to immigration law violators; subsidies and grants to go to college, and legal aid for illegal aliens in deportation proceedings. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is even threatening to sue the federal government (with taxpayer money, of course) for even trying to enforce immigration laws.

Some $23 billion of California taxpayers’ money and $7.5 billion of New York taxpayers’ money is expended on illegal aliens and their dependent children. For the benefit of the trolls at the Southern Poverty Law Center, the problems of California and New York cannot entirely be blamed on illegal aliens. Many, many factors have led to the middle class flight from these states. But one has to wonder why states wouldn’t want to do as much to woo their tax base into staying as they are doing to attract, protect, and reward illegal aliens.

Cutting back on benefits and protections for illegal aliens would not solve all of these states’ problems, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. In the meantime, every U-Haul packing up a middle or upper-middle class family headed out of California and New York represents a loss of vital revenue necessary to address myriad needs of both citizens and legal immigrants.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    Mark…Don’t blame Reagan…Thank the liberals left an the Fraud Obama. … Tax money should go the LEGAL people who paid into it from working. …. America is Not and Never will be a communist country. …one works to make a living. .. Like it or leave it.

  2. avatar

    It’s not the illegals. It’s the EB-5 and H1b visas. No need to waste energy hating the poor. The tidal wave of greed that makes it impossible for you to get out from under student debt or buy a house is not from the people crossing the desert.

  3. avatar
    VB Johnson on

    We once lived in CA (’58-61), and weather-wise it still is nice but politically it is going down the drain!

  4. avatar

    It’s comical to me that many or most of the public service retirees from California with big retirement benefits immediately flee the state on retirement day. Many to Nevada or similar low tax states.

    Fleeing the high taxes that fund their pension.

    • avatar

      YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! I’m retiring in a few years! I refuse to pay for the disgusting state of affairs in CA! I deal with illegals on a daily basis and will not be a part of the problem. I didn’t ask for this and I am against throwing tax money after THE PROBLEMS no one in government chooses to fix! COMMIEFORNIA CAN GO DIWN W/O ME!

  5. avatar

    Problem is, they do NOT care about the middle class citizens … the illegal aliens are held above the citizens as well as above the laws in our country…. … IT IS DISGUSTING!!!

  6. avatar

    Certainly does appear to be an exodus from (?welfare, sanctuary) States (add NV) with the next tier likely in several years of even the lower middle class fleeing overseas,
    the prophesy of generous part-time legislators being the primary taxpayers, a shot in the foot they brought on themselves.

  7. avatar

    The idea that people are fleeing states like California and New York because of the new limiting of deductions for state income taxes is a complete joke. Tell it to the citizens of Oregon who have been complaining for decades of all the Californians moving to their state. Coloradans say the same. The residents of New Hampshire complain of all the people from Massachusetts who have moved to their state and vote Democratic. Same with Virginians who talk about those who fled the high taxes of Maryland. Tons of Illinois citizens are moving to red Indiana because of the implosion of the Illinois financial situation.

    The problem is that the newcomers flee the situation they helped create and then spread their liberal contagion to states that controlled their spending and refused to incentivize and reward illegals and lawbreaking. San Francisco has gained a new nickname, Calcutta of the west. Must be all the homelessness, used needles, and human waste coving the sidewalks.

    As far as the Southern Poverty Law Center designation of FAIR as a “hate group”, the government has for a long time, and still does, included FAIR on their list of approved groups who they will collect employee contributions for, under the Combined Federal Campaign. If anyone should be denied contributions it’s SPLC, which is nothing but a massive con job. They are sitting on hundreds of millions in cash, little of which they are spending on projects they could be funding.

    • avatar

      I DIDN’T HELP CREATE ANY OF THESE PROBLEMS! COMMIEFORNIA was once RED! Now us righties have to be in the same pot as progressive liberals! ENOUGH! TRAVIS ALLEN FOR GOVERNOR OF CA!