New Jersey decisions show Tennessee’s been right all along | Jimmy Rodefer

About two years ago, on July 3, 2021, this column’s subject was that accountants in New Jersey had simple advice for their clients about improving their financial position: Get out of Dodge or, more accurately, New Jersey.

A portion of the column about New Jersey accountants' head-for-the-(Southern)-hills recommendation was as follows: “Said CNBC on July 11, 2021: ‘Certified public accountants have a message for New Jersey-based clients: It’s time to move to a lower-cost state. That’s according to a recent survey from the New Jersey Society of CPAs, which found that 70% of professionals surveyed who have clients in the state have advised them to move due to the high cost of living.’”

Tennessee, though not seeing a stream of moving vans from the Garden State to the Volunteer State, has about five times more New Jersey residents moving here than Tennesseans moving to New Jersey.

New Jersey is among the high-tax, high-cost states that are losing population, along with California, New York, Illinois and some others. At the close of 2022, NJ Spotlight News cited U.S. Census Bureau figures that showed New Jersey lost population in 2022: the state’s population has declined three of the last four years. NJ Spotlight News in 2022 also highlighted another problem New Jersey shares with high-cost states: high property taxes, in New Jersey’s case, the nation’s highest: “the average New Jersey property-tax bill has risen to nearly $9,300,” the publication reported.

More evidence: A Hertz rental truck to accommodate a three-to-four-bedroom home to move from Knoxville to Newark would at present cost $644; to move from Newark to Knoxville, it’s $2,494.

A fairly straightforward principle of economics is that when things become too expensive, people find alternatives. Businesses understand this very well, expanding or contracting depending upon numerous factors, with cost to consumers a leading issue. Government is often much slower to respond. Government typically resists downsizing; therefore, when people and businesses move away from a city, county or state, there are fewer taxpayers left to pay the bills. When taxes are raised to make up for this decline (as well as for inflation and other concerns) it motivates more people to leave, and the cycle repeats itself.

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