“Any one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.” — Supreme Court Justice Learned Hand (1934)
Last Sunday, the New York Times ran a cover story of how billionaire hedge fund manager David Tepper moved out of New Jersey after paying millions of dollars in state income taxes. After 20 years, he had witnessed the state gradually increase its state income tax from 2% to 6% to today’s 9%. In fact, up until 1976, New Jersey had no state income tax. In that fatal year — the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence — then Gov. Brendan Byrne, a Democrat, convinced the legislature to impose a “temporary” 2% income tax so that property taxes could be reduced.
Guess what? The property taxes were never reduced, the income tax was made permanent and now the rate is up to 9%.
David Tepper said enough is enough.
He moved his residence and his whole business operation to Miami, Florida, where there is no state income tax.
Many other wealthy taxpayers are doing the same. Supply side economist Art Laffer moved from California (with an 11% tax rate) to tax-free Tennessee. Money manager and Forbes columnist Ken Fisher moved from California to income-tax-free Washington state.
But it’s not just the super wealthy who can take advantage of the move to states with no income tax. Middle-class and upper-middle-class taxpayers also can benefit by moving to Nevada, Washington state, Wyoming, Tennessee, Texas, New Hampshire or Florida (all tax-free states).
Even Georgia is considering eliminating its income tax. The more the merrier.
Unfortunately, New Jersey has no plans of cutting its top tax rate, since it affects only a few good taxpayers. Of course, the legislators are smarting with the loss of $300 million or more after Tepper left.
You Nailed It!
My Chapman Students Beat the Market
I’m teaching Financial Economics this spring semester at Chapman University, where I am a presidential fellow. We just finished the section of the efficient market theory, the academic view that the stock market is so competitive that it is almost impossible to beat the market.
It is true that the vast majority of investors are lucky if they beat the market, and most professional money managers and active mutual funds underperform the market indexes. Study after study shows that traders and speculators don’t do as well as those who “buy and hold” over the long run.
So it came as a big surprise how well my 40 students did this semester in a stock-picking contest. On Feb. 1, the first day of class, I organized a contest to see which student could pick the best stock. Each student picked one stock at the beginning of class on Feb. 1.
The results are now in. The average return over three months was +12.5%, 50% higher than the stock indexes (up 8%). The winning student’s stock was Hecla Mining, up 120%. My stock pick was up a modest 14%.
By the way, I’m happy to report that we at Forecasts & Strategies also are beating the market this year. In fact, one of the top performers in my portfolio has what I call “the perfect dividend chart,” because of its remarkable streak of successive dividend increases. Follow this link to learn more about this great company.
Good investing, AEIOU,
The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift
My wife Jo Ann has just written a new book! It is an inspirational book called “Matriarchs of the Messiah: Valiant Women in the Lineage of Jesus Christ.” She teaches Bible Literature and Classic Mythology at Chapman University. This book tells the story of the women who are direct ancestors of Jesus Christ. It is quite a surprising list of characters. Eve and the wives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are included, of course, but I was surprised to learn that Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and even Bathsheba were also direct ancestors of Jesus. Jo Ann has made some fascinating discoveries about these women, and she presents them as heroines of the Bible. She’ll be talking about her book at FreedomFest this summer.
The book is published by Cedar Fort Publishers and can be purchased on Amazon.
Here’s what Steve Forbes said about Jo Ann’s new book: “Believers and non-believers alike will be fascinated and inspired by the women whose stories are skillfully told here by Jo Ann Skousen. Their trials, triumphs, strengths and shortcomings will speak to both women and men today. Skousen’s knowledge of the times in which they lived is particularly impressive.”
“Matriarchs of the Messiah” is a great choice to give as a Mother’s Day gift. It’s available at Costco, major bookstores and, of course, through amazon.com. I’m sure you will enjoy reading it. Let’s help her book become a great success!
Cato Institute Luncheon and Policy Forum on Gross Output, Friday, May 13, Washington, D.C.: Come join Steve Forbes, George Gilder and me for the event of the year at the Hayek Auditorium at the Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001. The topic will be “GO Beyond GDP: What Really Drives the Economy?” Get a seat early for this historic celebration of the Feds’ adopting my Gross Output (GO) statistic and what it means to investors, businesses and government policy. Afterwards, we will have a luncheon and autograph session for each of our books. This is a free event. Register today. Or email email@example.com or call (202) 789-5229. If you can’t make it, you can see this event live by going to www.cato.org/live.
What Does the Trump Victory Mean?
We’re going to have a HUGE debate on the question, “Trump, Pro and Con,” at this year’s FreedomFest, July 13-16, at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas. Hear Wayne Allyn Root and Dan Mangru (pro) and Jeffrey Tucker and Matt Welch (con), with Kennedy (Fox Business) as the moderator. The sparks will fly.
Here is a two-page color brochure with all of the speakers, panels and debates I’ve worked up for our big FreedomFest show. We take over the entire Planet Hollywood (nearly 1,000 already have signed up). Please take the time to go over the list — I think you’ll be impressed. I have it up on the FreedomFest website.
I also recommend that you watch this five-minute video recapping last year’s big show. You’ll be amazed, and the video will give you a good sense of what FreedomFest is all about.
May Day Alert: I urge you to sign up this week since FreedomFest’s “early bird” discount ends on May 15. Sign up today. You also can call Karen, Jennifer or Amy at toll-free at 1-855-850-3733, ext 202.
In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week on how to incentivize welfare recipients. I also invite you to comment in the space provided below.