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The Pa. exodus continues: Perception vs. reality

| Thursday, May 18, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
JASMINE GOLDBAND
The Pennsylvania state Capitol (Trib photo)

The “brain drain” of college-educated millennials leaving Pennsylvania shows no letup: New data from the state's Independent Fiscal Office show 36 college grads leave the state daily for better opportunities elsewhere, according to the Commonwealth Foundation.

That's part of a far bigger problem evidenced in last year's migration of 45,000 residents to other states, Commonwealth reports. And that pushed Pennsylvania to 10th in United Van Lines' annual report on the highest outbound U.S. states in 2016.

The problem isn't the public's perception of Pennsylvania, as some state officials suggest. It's the reality of the state's high-tax burden and an unfriendly business climate, writes Nathan Benefield, Commonwealth's vice president.

“The big-government approach to tax, spend, borrow and regulate has stifled job growth and economic opportunity in Pennsylvania,” Mr. Benefield says.

And it's no small wonder: Pennsylvania has the second-highest corporate tax rate “in the industrialized world,” notes Benefield. The state and local tax burden is 15th highest in the nation.

And while politicos talk about fiscal changes, soft-drink companies are cutting employees because of Philadelphia's “soda tax” and vape shops are closing because of new state levies.

That's reality. Without changes in Pennsylvania's tax-and-spend mentality, it's only going to get worse.

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