$400 million in one year alone.
"This net loss," writes the Public Policy Forum in a report analyzing 2005-2006 figures, "represents the largest such out-migration of income from southeastern Wisconsin in the last 10 years."
Of the seven counties -- Kenosha, Walworth, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Milwaukee, Washington and Racine -- "Racine County lost the greatest percentage of total income -- 1.9% in just one year. Kenosha County, on the other hand, was able to add a full 1% to their county's total personal income through the attraction of those from outside southeastern Wisconsin -- primarily Chicagoans. Walworth County, also close to Chicago, was the only other county in southeastern Wisconsin to bring in more income than it lost last year," the report states.
(The report doesn't mention KRM even once. Nor, having eviscerated RUSD earlier this month with its 10th annual report on the district's dropout rates and student test scores, does this Public Policy Forum report mention local schools.)
Income migration data are "the result of a joint effort between the IRS and the U.S. Census Bureau, matching records of individual income tax returns filed in a base year with tax returns filed in the subsequent year." Taxpayers who move are considered emigrants from their original county and immigrants to the one they settle into. The Public Policy Forum calculated "net migration" by summing the inflow and outflow of income for each year. Got that?
Some of the report's key findings include:
-- While aggregate personal income in southeastern Wisconsin grew last year by a healthy 3.7%, record net out-migration of $400.2 million in personal income reduced overall growth by one percentage point.
-- Chicago continues to send southeastern Wisconsin households with high personal income. We added $392 million from the six-county Chicago region in the past five years.
-- Chicago emigrants to southeastern Wisconsin brought an average of $47,880 in personal income per tax return, significantly higher than Wisconsin emigrants coming here with average incomes of $34,124.
-- Despite the influx from Chicago, southeastern Wisconsin bled income to the rest of the state, and to the Sunbelt. Popular destination for our region's income are Florida, Arizona, northern Wisconsin and Jefferson and Dodge counties.
-- This region is not alone in losing income. Chicago lost $2 billion from 2005-2006, and the Twin Cities lost $518 million.
Although Madison is considered a boom town thanks to the presence of the University of Wisconsin, it was a net loser in the income migration sweepstakes -- but just by 1/10th of a percent. Still, Dane County netted $63.4 million in income migration from southeastern Wisconsin since 2001. Other areas benefiting from the outward migration of our region's wealth, the report states,,is northern Wisconsin, including such 'second-home' destinations as Lake Tomahawk and Lake Minocqua.
The report concludes: "Incomes are growing in southeastern Wisconsin, but they could grow faster if we found a way to plug the relentless leakage of personal income to areas outside the region. From 2001 to 2006, households moving out of the seven-county southeastern Wisconsin region took with them $1.3 billion more in personal income than those moving into the region brought in. This is a challenge for the entire region. With five of seven counties having net income losses, every county could do more to plug the income drain.
"Stopping southeastern Wisconsin's income drain would have meant expanding the region's economic pie by $400 million in the last year alone. A larger income base would circulate more money to fund government services like schools and police; more money to support the arts and bolster retail trade; and more investment to assist the housing market."
The full report is HERE.