By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — More taxpayers have been leaving Maryland than moving here. The question is–why?

Political reporter Pat Warren explains there’s a mixture of reasons.

The IRS numbers don’t say why a person moved, but they certainly give critics an opportunity to point fingers at Maryland taxes.

Maryland taxes were all the talk in last year’s campaign for governor. During the debate on WJZ:

“There will be no new taxes,” said Anthony Brown.

“You and Martin O’Malley said exactly the same thing, and then you raised 40 taxes in a row,” Larry Hogan responded.

And Maryland voters felt it.

“I am personally taxed until I can’t afford to get anything fixed in my house,” one woman said.

“The more taxes you pay, the less money you have in your pocket,” a man said.

“They’re way too high,” said another man.

“Everybody would want lower taxes,” one woman said.

“It’s less money in their own pocket,” said another.

But would they move out and leave the state? Towson University’s chief economist says not necessarily.

“It’s a snapshot in time,” said Darius Irani, Towson University economist.

Warren: “It was a very popular argument though during the last election.”

Irani: “People make decisions to move based upon their schools, climate, and oftentimes, where the jobs are.”

Within local jurisdictions, Baltimore’s overall taxpayer decline represents a three percent loss.

“The higher property taxes, I think people grumbled a little bit about them, but I think what people are most concerned with is the quality of the schools,” said Irani.

According to the IRS data, Montgomery County also showed a decline in tax base in 2012, but here again, factors such as commutes and housing play a part.

Charles County also posted a loss, but again, the reasons range from the weather to retirement.

Queen Anne’s County, on the other hand, gained in tax base, and Kent County also posted in the plus side of state-to-state migration.

“It’s not going to show why the individual moved, and that’s really the critical issue,” said Irani.

And some move, and still work here.

Still, there are some pretty convincing arguments that taxes, although they may not be number one, could be a contributing factor.

Virginia, D.C. and Florida gained the highest numbers of Marylanders, while most new Maryland residents moved here from Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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