Over $460 Million in Income Leaves Wisconsin Every Year

Thousands of Wisconsinites leave the Badger State every year, taking millions of dollars with them – a bleak trend highlighted by recent Internal Revenue Service data. An average of $463 million left the state annually from 2011 to 2016, according to tax records.

Between 2015 and 2016 alone, 5,185 fewer households filed tax returns in Wisconsin. Total adjusted gross income – all the income that Wisconsinites reported – fell by a shocking $461 million in that year alone. Wisconsinites are leaving in droves, and they’re taking their nest eggs with them.

From 2011 to 2016, more than $2.3 billion left the state of Wisconsin. A net 35,788 people have left in that time, an average of 7,158 fewer Wisconsin tax filers every year.

Census Bureau statistics show where Wisconsinites go when they leave, and where new Wisconsinites came from when they arrive. Overwhelmingly, Badgers are moving to Florida, Arizona, Texas, and Colorado, all states with lower tax burdens than Wisconsin.

The numbers in Texas show a similar story. The majority of new residents are coming from high-tax states with poor fiscal health such as California, Louisiana, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey.

The tax burden isn’t the only reason why people choose to move, but it cannot be ignored. Capital flows to where it is treated best. To welcome new residents to Wisconsin and keep our economy flowing, the state should consider lowering taxes across the board.