Despite the decline in home sales, Clark County attracted 22 percent more out-of-town residents in 2010 than in 2009. Real estate experts believe the absence of income tax and low home prices contributed to the influx of new residents. Clark County boasts some of the lowest home prices in the Portland-Vancouver metro area.
The Washington State Department of Licensing reported 15,008 new residents in Clark County in 2010, up from 12,283 residents in 2009. The majority of the newcomers are from Oregon, making up more than 51.7 percent of new Clark County residents. Californians are the second-largest group flocking to Washington. In December alone, of the 1,103 county newcomers, 587 were from Oregon, along with 90 from California, 42 from Michigan, 25 from Arizona and 23 from Texas, among other states.
Mike Lamb, a real estate broker who works for Windermere/Stellar Group in Vancouver, told the Columbian newspaper, “there are still lots of tax refugees coming, especially retirees and people who don’t have to live in any particular place.”
Cami Joner of The Columbian Newspaper noted that Oregon residents face an income tax of 9 percent if they earn more than $7,601 a year, and 11 percent on earnings above $250,000. California’s state income tax rate is 8 percent for people earning between $37,234 and $47,055 annually. The rate is 9.3 percent for Californians who earn $47,056 or more.
This month the Wall Street Journal compared states with combined federal and state death tax rates. Oregon was listed in the top 15 and Washington and California we not on the top list (WSJ Death Tax Ambush 2-8-2011).
In December 2009, economists Randall Pozdena and Eric Fruits forecasted that the impacts of Measures 66 and 67 would hurt Oregon employment. They based their research on peer-reviewed literature and a quantitative analysis of the taxes and economic growth across the U.S. and over a long period. They concluded that the tax measures would have a significant negative impact on Oregon’s employment picture. As their prediction appears to be coming true, the measures could have an additional impact on Oregonians leaving the state to avoid taxation.