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Voting With Their Wallets

Article by Robert Asahina February 13, 2013 //   2 minute read

We hear a lot about workers “voting with their feet” and relocating for jobs, but what really counts in their decision-making? “Affordability and education come right at the top, then taxes,” David Booth said on Tuesday, in an interview conducted by James K. Glassman at the Bush Institute’s conference in Chicago on “Tax Competition and 4% Growth.” But of course “affordability and taxes are intertwined,” Booth pointed out. The co-chief executive officer and chairman of Dimensional Fund Advisors, for whom the University of Chicago Booth School of Business was named, Booth said that the offices of his firm were originally split between Santa Monica, California, and Austin, Texas. But over time, more than two-thirds of his employees relocated to Austin, almost all of them voluntarily (and many of them native Californians). As he noted, someone making $200,000 a year can cover the annual mortgage payments on a house in Austin with the amount saved in taxes by not living in Santa Monica. If you made $200,000 in Brentwood, an affluent neighborhood of Los Angeles where his daughter went to high school, “you’d be eligible for financial aid,” Booth said.