Mich. losing most people

Published 12:59 am Tuesday, December 23, 2008

By Staff
MIDLAND – Michigan residents continue to leave the Great Lakes State at a rapid rate, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Monday.
Figures indicate that Michigan is one of only two states in the union to lose population in net terms.
From July 1, 2007, to July 1, 2008, Michigan lost another net 46,000 residents – 0.5 percent of its population.
Rhode Island was the other net loser, seeing its population decline by 0.2 percent.
"We're not surprised by this, especially given last year's $1.4 billion tax hike," said Michael D. LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative at the Mackinac Center. "Every time Lansing politicians raise the cost of living and working in Michigan, they repel potential in-migrants and chase current residents – the lifeblood of our well-being – from the state's borders."
LaFaive and co-author Michael Hicks, Ph.D., completed a migration study last summer designed to estimate the degree to which certain public policy or other economic phenomena induce migration to or from American states, with specific attention paid to Michigan's net migration flows.
The dominant variable in their Michigan-specific model was state and local tax burden.
The study found that for every 10 percent differential in per-capita state and local tax burdens, 4,700 people leave Michigan every year.
Another 900 people leave annually for every 1 percentage point increase in the state's unemployment rate.
"Fundamentally, people are self-interested and their self-interest often manifests itself in the decision to pack up and move. That there can be incredible costs with such moves – financial and psychological -only drives home how dramatic these Census numbers really are," said Hicks, an adjunct scholar with the Mackinac Center. "Why are so many leaving? In all likelihood it's a function of relative opportunities."
LaFaive and Hicks have published a commentary
They present empirical and anecdotal evidence in their essay and argue that Lansing can and does influence migration by making the state more or less attractive to live, work and invest in.