Maine’s rich (counties) keep getting richer

Most anywhere you move, taxes remain a sure thing.

That was a benefit for Maine from 2011 to 2012, when people filing federal taxes from Maine reported earning $116 million more than the people who left the state ($819 million in, $703 million out).

The IRS released the data last week on migration patterns for 2012, using new methods it said better correlated one year to another year’s tax filings to find out who moved and how much earning potential they took along.

The Tax Man also broke those figures down by county, showing that the Maine counties with the biggest income tax bases continued to get even heftier in 2012.

Cumberland and York counties together made up about half of the gross personal income tax reported to the IRS for Maine in 2012. 

The county-level figures show that Cumberland and York counties had a net gain for personal income reported in 2012, along with every other coastal county and the inland Franklin and Somerset counties.

Penobscot, Kennebec, Androscoggin, and Aroostook counties all had declines in reported earnings, when comparing the people who left compared with those who arrived in 2012.

The chart below shows the difference, county-by-county, of income reported by people moving to the area and those moving out. Next to that, the chart shows which states were responsible for the greatest number of outflows.

Statewide, that reflects the truth of a common perception: Florida is the state’s largest identifiable income drainer. Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut brought the most into the state.

Those charts get at just a portion of the shifts, as the data does not include figures for counties that had fewer than a combined 10 people move in either direction.

Click on a county to see the net change between that county and other states.

(County-level losses due to migration to other parts of the state or foreign countries are not reflected below, which is why a county like Aroostook or Penobscot show a loss in earnings but only net gains in relation to specific states.)

And if you thought there wasn’t anything popular about the IRS, you’ll be interested to know the IRS backed off ending its migration data program in 2012 after facing public pressure to restore it, according to the magazine Governing.

Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.