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Could Trump's Tax Bill Trigger A Mass Exodus From Manhattan? Goldman Seems To Think So...

New York's billionaire hedge fund managers have blazed the trail south in recent years with the likes of David Tepper, Paul Tudor Jones and Eddie Lampert all ditching the Empire State for Florida...a state which brings not only pristine beaches and year-round golf weather but also the added benefit of a 0% personal income tax rate. 

Meanwhile, as Bloomberg once again points out this morning, the decision to ditch the over-taxed states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will be even easier if Trump's tax plan succeeds in eliminating the state and local income tax deduction...a deduction which could cost a New Yorker making $1,000,000 a year a cool $21,000 in extra taxes.

The problem for the Connecticut hedge-fund set -- and, more broadly, for a lot of the Wall Street crowd -- is that Republican proposals in both the House and Senate would drive up taxes for many high-earners in the New York City area. By eliminating the deduction for most state and local taxes, an individual making a yearly salary of $1,000,000 -- a figure not uncommon in the financial industry -- would owe the Internal Revenue Service an additional $21,000, according to a preliminary analysis by accounting firm Marcum LLP.

 

“It would almost be irresponsible if you weren’t thinking about moving,” he said.

 

Not surprisingly, Miami is exploiting the potential tax change to woo Manhattan's most successful "millionaire, billionaire, private jet owners" (to cite Obama) as Miami's luxury real estate agents say they're having a hard time keeping up with the sudden surge in demand.

The Miami Downtown Development Authority is throwing a party next month during the annual Art Basel show, and Nitin Motwani, a real estate developer, has invited wealthy Northeasterners who’ve expressed interest in moving to the area. Because the proposed tax changes are practically begging them to relocate, Motwani expects a crowd.

 

State and local taxes, also called SALT, “can and should be a major catalyst,” said Motwani, a development authority board member. Tax reform will “certainly be something we’re highlighting” at the party, in the Perez Art Museum. “Inertia is a tough thing, but you add on another tax bill and maybe that pushes you over the edge.”

 

Jeff Miller, director of luxury sales for Brown Harris Stevens in the Miami area, said he’s fielded a half-dozen calls from clients motivated by higher taxes to step up their search for South Florida property.

 

Two clients who work at New York City financial firms have scheduled tours of a newly completed 7,000-square-foot (650-square-meter) home on the Venetian Islands, Miller said. The $22.5 million asking price buys views of Biscayne Bay and a spot to moor a yacht.

 

“Usually it’s a snowstorm that would push them to pick up the phone,” Miller said. “The tax plan has the same effect.”

So what does this mean for the overall impact on domestic migration patterns?  Well, Goldman figures that the changes currently contemplated on the Senate bill could ultimately result in 2-4% of Manhattan's top earners relocating to lower taxing jurisdictions...

The increased effective tax differential between high- and low-tax areas may increase movement from the former to the latter. Exhibit 4 shows the increase in effective tax rate differentials for a few relevant pairs of states. For instance, we estimate that the TCJA would increase the gap between the combined S&L income tax rates in New York City vs. Connecticut by about 2pp to 5-6%. States with zero income tax such as Texas and Washington would experience the largest gains in relative tax competitiveness. The simple median increase in the tax gap across the six illustrative pairs is a bit above 1.5pp.

 

For our initial analysis of the potential migration effects, we review the academic literature on taxes and mobility. The reviewed studies shown in Exhibit 5 focus on high-income earners, because the literature tends to ?nd only small tax effects among lower- and middle-income earners. The studies are mixed, but the median study suggests a 2% decline in the number of top-income earners after 3-10 years per percentage point increase in the tax rate gap. Combining this median 2% mobility estimate with the 1-2 percentage point increase in the tax gap between New York City and New Jersey/Connecticut suggests that the TCJA would eventually lower the number of top-income earners in New York City by 2-4%, for example.

...and if that's not at least somewhat concerning to legislators in Albany, Trenton and Sacramento...it should be.

Tepper, who heads Appaloosa Management, relocated to Miami Beach in 2015 from Short Hills, New Jersey. Jones kept Tudor Investment Corp. in Greenwich, Connecticut, when he moved to Palm Beach, Florida, last year. In 2012, Lampert, best known as Sears Holdings Corp.’s chief executive officer, took his hedge fund to Miami from the same tony Connecticut town.

 

State budgets feel the impact. When Tepper moved his firm to Florida, forecasters warned it could jeopardize New Jersey’s budget because the firm generated more than $100 million in state income tax. In 2013, state income tax generated by residents of seven of the wealthiest towns in Fairfield County amounted to $1.8 billion, according to the Hartford Courant, or about 9 percent of the Connecticut state budget.

 

“There is a certain amount of burying one’s head in the sand and naivete in Hartford,” Connecticut’s capital, McGuire said. “I don’t think they believe it can happen.”

Oh well, it's not as if New Jersey is teetering on the edge of solvency courtesy of a massively underfunded public pension ponzi...