On Monday night, nothing could stop Joe Burrow and the LSU offense from marching up and down the field in route to a 42-25 victory over Clemson in the college national championship game. Unfortunately, it looks like Louisiana’s government took a cue from Clemson’s defense, because a new report shows its policies are causing Louisianans to march right out of the state.
United Van Lines, the largest moving company in America, recently released data showing the percentages of people moving in and out of the 48 contiguous United States. States with a higher percentage of people moving in compared to out ranked the highest on the list. Vermont was the highest on the list while Louisiana came in at a measly 37th. Vermont had nearly 50 percent more incoming residents over departing citizens while Louisiana has 10 percent more departures than incomers.
The fact that more people are moving from Louisiana is certainly concerning. States prospering economically and providing good services to citizens tend have people moving in rather than out, and they also tend to attract the best and brightest. This is the virtuous cycle of good governance and economic growth. The fact that Louisiana is moving the opposite direction is troubling enough for Louisiana, but a deeper dive into why people are leaving the state raises even more alarms.
United doesn’t just collect data on the number of people moving, it also looks at the reasons and demographics of the people who are moving.
For reasons for moving, United provided data on retirement, health, family, lifestyle and job. The vast majority of reasons for those moving in or out of Louisiana were job related. More than 66 percent of people moving to Louisiana was due to a job, (family was second with only 17 percent), but more than 70 percent of people leaving the state was also due to a job. This represents the largest gap between inbound versus outbound reasons for moving at 4.3 percent.
This jobs gap isn’t the only troubling trend in the data. United also collected data about the age and income of those moving in and out of the state. People making over $150,000 annually left the state as opposed to entering it at a seven percent gap. In fact, the people creating value for their fellow citizens, and paying the most in taxes, are most likely to leave the state over any other income demographic.
Perhaps this should not be surprising given that Louisiana has a top personal income tax rate of 6 percent, the highest in the region other than Arkansas. Texas and Tennessee, which have no personal income tax on wages, ranked 13th and 10th on the inbound movers list.
All of this data points to an unfortunate truth for the state of Louisiana. While we may be No. 1 in college football, we are falling behind the nation in creating jobs and opportunity for our citizens.
Like any good college football program, we need to be able to recruit the best and brightest to move and put down roots in the state. Just look what Ohio native Joe Burrow was able to do for LSU. But that means having a legal climate, educational system and tax code that make people want to live here. Louisiana is a long way from fielding a competitive roster in those areas, but at least Joe Burrow and the Tigers have inspired us and proven that turnaround success stories are still possible.