It would seem that a confession of my naivété is in order, because I was actually surprised at the response to my recent op-ed on Rhode Island taxpayer flight that the Poverty Institute’s Ellen Frank offered as a letter to the editor. Either she is being deliberately deceptive, or she did not manage to understand what she had read before penning her rebuttal. I’m not sure which possibility represents the more charitable assumption.
The fact that she relies entirely on data released for 2005 and earlier — and insists that I did the same — allows her to avoid (or prevents her from realizing) the centrality to my piece of 2005’s anomalous results. She also apparently missed the fact that the IRS, whose data she touts as “much more reliable” than that of the Census, supplied a roughly equal portion of my numbers. She notes that IRS data derives from “all income-tax returns filed,” and indeed, my clincher, that Rhode Island lost, on a net basis, 8,296 taxpayers, with an aggregate adjusted gross income totaling $485 million, from 2005 to 2006, is based on actual taxpayers tracked by their Social Security numbers as they crossed state and national borders.
Readers interested in reviewing my research, presented in graphical format, can find it on this Web page. I would have hoped that sheer intellectual curiosity would have led Ms. Frank, a prominent member of an academic institute, thereto, but as I’ve already confessed, I must be naive.