January 23, 2019

January 23, 2019

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -  

When I go back to my farm in Illinois and drive down our country roads, I can’t help but think about the unbelievable change since I was a boy.  I went to a one-room country school for 8 years.  That school is gone.  The High School in a little town of 200 people closed just before I graduated from the 9th grade.  I take note of many farm houses along country roads that are gone today.  The farms have consolidated.  We have 4000 acres of crop land today.  As a boy, we had 150 acres.

With airline flights, better roads, and better cars, people travel at will to other states, even other countries.  Our citizens today are not tied to one place as we were when I grew up.  I didn’t get out of the state until I was a senior in high school and attended the National FFA Convention in Kansas City.

In recent years, many of our citizens have left their homes to find opportunity.  They are looking for a better paying job.  Look at how they flocked to North Dakota because of the oil boom. 

The Cato Institute has numbers that verify another powerful driving force – taxes.  Tax policies of some states and cities are driving their residents away.  In 2016, 600,000 residents moved from the 25 high-tax states to the 25 low-tax states.  Hardest hit was New Jersey, with its 8.97% top tax rate.  New York was not far behind.  Even beautiful California, with a 13.3% tax rate, lost residents.  Many people went to Texas, Nevada, and Washington, where they have no state income tax.  The biggest winner is Florida, where there is no state income tax.

I know what you are thinking.  They just go South because it is cold up in New York.  However, New Hampshire and Washington state are both up north, but with no state income tax their population is growing at a healthy clip.

We have a very mobile population today, and they are looking for a better job, a better life, and a chanced to prosper.

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Until next week, this is John Block reporting from Washington, D.C.