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Faculty Member Whitney Afonso Pens Article on State Income Tax Policy

Whitney Afonso

Faculty member Whitney Afonso published an article on "The Effect of a State Income Tax on Migration: The Example of Connecticut" in the Journal of Public Policy on December 12, 2016.

The article addresses state-level income tax policy, a hotly debated topic in both academic and political spheres. Although economic theory and some empirical analyses suggest that larger income tax burdens affect migration decisions, there is also a good deal of empirical evidence showing that tax policy has little to no effect. This lack of consensus in the academic literature is echoed in the political world, where many states are debating whether to eliminate income taxes or reduce rates as a means of spurring economic growth. Connecticut’s adoption of an income tax policy in 1991 provides a unique opportunity to analyze the impact of a sizable income tax policy change on migration. The results suggest that Connecticut’s income tax deterred movement into the state but had no impact on exit from the state, resulting in a net loss in migration.

Afonso joined the School of Government in 2012. She was named Albert and Gladys Hall Coates Distinguished Term Assistant Professor for 2015–2017. Prior to that time, she taught at the University of Georgia, Department of Public Administration and Policy; and Texas A&M University's Bush School of Government and Public Administration. Her research into how the choice of revenue streams by state and local governments affect government and citizen behavior has been presented at the annual conferences for the National Tax Association, Association for Budgeting and Financial Management, American Society for Public Administration, and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. In October 2016, she was recognized by Public Budgeting & Finance with its Jesse Burkhead Award. Her article, “Leviathan or Flypaper: Earmarked Local Sales Taxes for Transportation,” was selected as the journal’s top article in 2015. Afonso earned a BA in political science from Vanderbilt University, and an MA in economics and PhD in public administration and policy from the University of Georgia.