RUSH: I was just telling Mr. Snerdley and the rest of the staff here, my timing, my instincts, man, oh, man, are they impeccable. And, by the way, in addition to that, it’s so great to see philosophy analysis and fact announced by me worm its way into the Drive-By Media, particularly across the pond in the United Kingdom media. It’s so fascinating.
And then of course on Fox News my take on events begins discussion panels. We have all of that and much more coming up on today’s excursion into broadcast excellence hosted by me, Rush Limbaugh, fine voice, emitting vocal vibrations coast to coast. The telephone number if you want to be on the program, 800-282-2882. If you want to send an email, ElRushbo@eibnet.us.
President Trump just landed in Kansas City. He’s got a speech at VFW convention there at about — well, he’s scheduled to begin the speech in 22, 23 minutes. They’re always late. I don’t know yet if we’re gonna JIP it, but we will be rolling on it, and any highlights we will have. (interruption) Yeah, yeah, yeah. I did. I lived in Kansas City for 10 years. I was an abject failure at everything I did there, but it all led to this. Well, yeah, abject failure, pretty accurate description. Moderate, moderate, with potential everywhere, but not realized. But I wouldn’t trade the 10 years for anything.
Now, here is my impeccable instinct. There’s a story in Barron’s today: “The Nightmare of Fleeing High-Tax States.” I moved to New York in July of 1988 and I lived and worked there for 10 years. In 1997 I renounced citizenship in the state of New York and fled to the no-state-income-tax state of Florida, where I have lived since.
At the time I sent letters to the New York tax authorities every year telling them I had moved, showing them photocopies of my Florida driver’s license, memberships in various organizations and clubs, hoping to be up front and honest with them, that I no longer lived there and was not going to be filing tax returns anymore.
Well, all that did was put a bull’s-eye on my back and I then was audited by New York state for 12 consecutive years. Some audits would include three tax years, so it wasn’t 12 audits, but the audits did include 12 tax years. And every audit began with the premise that I was lying, that I actually still lived in New York because I had an apartment there and that I was just trying to get out of paying New York taxes.
So I had to prove in these audits — and I’m not making this up — I had to prove where I was, I mean “prove” where I was every day of the year in about 10 different ways: computer IP addresses, credit card receipts, travel locations, credit cards, all that stuff. And even with that, the assumption was that I was lying. And the way it ended up being resolved was that I — this whole residency business was tossed out. Up until that time if you lived over 180 days somewhere else, then you could say that you were not an official resident of the place you lived 179 days.
But that didn’t apply to me. They came up with something brand-new and it was, “Okay. Here’s what we’ll do with you. For every day you work in New York, there will be a per diem tax based on your income and all the other things, and you owe us a return, even if you only work one day a year.” So that led to a lot of anger on my part and a ban on my going to New York to work. A self-imposed ban. It was my ban placed on me. It wasn’t about the money; it was the principle of the thing.
I had to spend all kinds of money on lawyers and accountants during this audit process. And I since learned that New York state probably has a division in Albany that tracks every resident that moves away to a no-income-tax state. I don’t think I was unique. Although the then governor of the state during a press conference — what was his name, David Paterson. That’s right. He was asked a question about me leaving New York, the governor of New York said, “If I had known we could get rid of Limbaugh by raising his taxes, I’d have done it sooner.” This is the governor of New York.
So I think my decision to leave was valid. And I have not worked a day in New York in probably, I don’t know, at least 12 years. I’ve gone to New York, when I’m there at night, like for fundraisers for the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. Or I’ll fly in and out to play golf somewhere, but not to work there.
As I say, it’s just the principle of the thing. And when this became public, I got grief from what was to become Twitter. It didn’t yet exist. But people called me greedy. People called me selfish. People called me willing to skip and skate out on my responsibilities and commitments.
And I said, “No, it’s none of that. I’m smart.”
Well, I was ahead of the curve then, as I am now. Back to the story: “The Nightmare of Fleeing High-Tax States.” It’s in Barron’s. “I’ve heard from a number of top advisors in New York and California that certain clients are considering fleeing to lower-tax states in the wake of the new tax law’s severe restrictions on state and local tax writeoffs.
“A Bloomberg article looks at one good reason few will likely follow through. It boils down to those pesky state tax collectors. ‘Wealth managers and tax lawyers say many of their (New York) clients are staying put after hearing about the scrupulous records they would have to keep to show they’ve really uprooted their lives and severed ties with their former states,’ Bloomberg writes, ‘and that it’s not as easy as just spending a few more days a month in a Florida vacation home.'”
No, it’s not. But I wasn’t playing any games. I literally moved. I literally moved here. I sent them all the evidence. I was not cheating. I was not trying to convince them that I was still in New York while lying to them about it. I literally moved. And it didn’t matter; it wasn’t accepted; it wasn’t believed. There was even one year they subpoenaed my household staff and demanded to visit both my Florida residence and New York residence so they could see for themselves which one was the more lived in. Expecting it to be the New York apartment and therefore able to convict me of lying.
This is 20 years ago that this happened. And now people are beginning to wish to follow me out, and their accountants are saying, “Don’t do it.” And they’re right. I mean, you know what it’s like to have to prove where you are every day of the year, 10 different ways? Not just one. A picture of you by your pool in Florida even with modern geotagging doesn’t work. Ten different ways. I mean, EIB 1, I could say, never landed in New York. Doesn’t matter. You could have flown in on some other plane and nobody knew.
No matter what you said, they had a built in excuse for why you were lying about it. And of course I must say that people that represent me in matters like this do not want to be too aggressive ’cause they’re afraid the authorities will then go after them.
So we’ve heard about Illinois, Chicago, how they’re running out of money, don’t have any money at all, and they’re going to raise new taxes with a surcharge on property taxes, and they are happily and with great fanfare telling existing residents, “And you can’t escape this by leaving. You can’t. You know why? Because our new plan makes your house unsellable. Who in the world is gonna buy your house here with this new tax on it. So you’re stuck. Even if you move, we are gonna collect taxes on you because you’re not gonna be able to sell your house.”
That was one of the parts of the announcement they made in Illinois. “New York…” Back to Barron’s here. “New York and other high-tax states play hardball, including issuing subpoenas for credit card statements, bank transactions and phone records. They’ve been known to interview doormen or confirm doctors’ appointments.” All of this, folks… I could have been the source for this story. My message to those of you in California and New York and Illinois is get out while you can. They’re gonna make it even tougher and maybe impossible.
Look, already there are accountants who don’t want the grief, either. Their accountants are telling them, “Don’t mess with it. The recordkeeping alone will not make it worth it.” It used to be all you had to do was keep a diary where you were every day and then submit that with your tax. I’m talking 30 years ago. If you had a vacation home somewhere, if you actually lived 185 days in Florida and 175 in New York, that’s all you had to do and you were then considered a Florida resident.
Ah, ah, ah! It’s not that way anymore. Particularly if you’re a New Yorker and you leave. If you live in a high-tax state, the state government is gonna give you hell if you try to leave. And you know what I think is gonna happen? I think that even if you do leave, they’re gonna try claw-back taxes which is effectively what they’re doing in Illinois. Now, tell me, how is this freedom? How is this freedom? You want to exercise the right to live where you want to live, and look what the State does.
I mean the capital S State, the regime, not the individual state. Look what they’re doing. They’re planning ways to limit your ability to exercise your freedom — where you want to go, where you want to live — all because they have been irresponsible and spent their states into near bankruptcy with all of these unfunded liabilities on pensions and you name it and they don’t have the money to operate their states. And unlike the federal government, they can’t print any money.
So people that want to leave are stuck. There is only one benefit to this that I see. There’s gonna be to keep a bunch of liberals in New York rather than have ’em move down here to North Carolina or to Texas or wherever and try to convert those states — which are now red — into blue. So liberals, I think it’s only right that you suffer under the policies of people you vote for. You voted for these people. You vote for ’em every year. You donate to ’em. You put ’em in office; you keep ’em there. You support the bureaucrats they hire.
Well, there you go. That’s the selfish view. The altruistic view would be, “Gee, I hope you’re able to get out.” Who knows what I’m doing to myself by telling this story now. The audits may kick back up again. But I’ve got the system down pat now. But it took 12 years, and every year, “You’re lying! We don’t believe you,” and then your first two to three submissions they don’t believe, and they have the authority.
You know in tax law, tax court… I never went to tax court, don’t misunderstand. I don’t want to confuse anybody. Never. They were just negotiations with the audit agents. But in tax court, you are guilty. It’s the only place in America where you’re presumed guilty and you have to prove your innocence. You have to prove you didn’t do it. So just be aware that once again I, your host, am on the cutting edge of societal evolution.
And if I had not been raised with such class and manners, I would tell you how much money I have saved by not paying taxes in New York City and New York State. But I was raised better than that. My dad said, “Don’t ever talk about money,” and I don’t. But you would be stunned.
RUSH: Look what we just got here audio sound bite-wise. Elizabeth McCaughey, noted Obamacare expert, was on the Fox Business Network today, Varney and Company, and this story about people leaving high-tax states, this is big in those states. You may not have run across this story, but the egocentric nature of media who live in media capitals who tend to think that all news is about them, that everything is about them, relates to them, and therefore it becomes national news. If it’s affecting them, then you should care, is their attitude.
So this has become big news, the idea that states are gonna track down people that leave for no tax states. So Stuart Varney is talking to Betsy McCaughey. He says, “It’s very hard for people to move out of high-tax states, right?”
MCCAUGHEY: Establishing that your domicile has moved, that legally you are no longer residing in tax hell, Connecticut, New York, Jersey, Illinois, California. That is not so easy. You have to have a Florida driver’s license, Florida voter registration, own a home in Florida, but that’s just the beginning. Here’s the tough part. Those auditors are going to come in and say, “Well, where are your primary care physicians? Where do you keep your family and heirlooms and photographs?”
Then they’re going to say, “Prove to us that you have not spent any moment of 183 days in New York, for example, or Connecticut.” And to prove that they’re going to look at your EZ-Pass, they’re going to look at all your credit card statements, and that’s just for starters. Any second of a day spent in New York counts as a full day in New York. And it is very, very tough to prove you that you have officially moved your domicile to one of those tax-free states.
RUSH: Been there, done that. This is my whole point. Been there, done that, starting back in 1997. This is cutting edge, societal evolution. And she doesn’t even describe — she gets half of it. But the real point of this is, it should not be hard to prove where you live. I know there’s scammers out there, but they wouldn’t be hard to expose. But if you’ve really moved, you know, showing them a driver’s license, it doesn’t impress ’em. “Well, anybody can get a driver’s license.”
“No, the state requires residence here to get it.”
“Well, that doesn’t matter. We don’t accept that.”
“Well, here’s my doctor.”
“No, no. We don’t accept that. You can always fly to New York to your old doctor.” I mean, no matter what you tell them, it doesn’t work. They just are not gonna believe it. This 183-day business, that’s out the window too. That no longer flies. It may be for some people grandfathered on that, but if you’re leaving today, it’s not that you have to spend 183 days where you go. That’s not how it’s gonna be. They’re gonna get you for every day you’re in the city that you’ve just left or the state, if it’s a workday, they’re gonna get you, no matter how many days out of the state you live somewhere else.
Here’s the next bite. Varney says, “I was expecting a mass exodus of people out of high-tax states, but you don’t think so?”
MCCAUGHEY: It’s gonna take a lot of time. You will see more leaving than we have seen so far. After all, most of the taxpayers in tax hell haven’t endured the actual pain of writing that check yet. It’s an unforgettable experience. It’s definitely depressing real estate values, no question about that. It’s getting very hard to sell one of these mega mansions in one of these tax hell states because the property taxes are no longer deductible above a cap.
RUSH: See? Exactly what we’ve told you. So they’ve got you. You can’t sell where you live now. So you’re gonna not escape our property taxes, you’re not gonna escape whatever increases in property taxes there are. We’ve got you.
There is a benefit. It’s gonna keep liberals where they live rather than moving and infecting other parts of the country. But still, tell me how any of this is freedom. It isn’t. Just something as simple as moving away is something that is going — listen to her. She’s exactly right, describing how hard it is to prove. And I’m telling you, she only got half of what you go through.
RUSH: Cornella, Georgia, this is Travis. You’re up first and welcome, sir.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. Good day we’re having today. What I wanted to point out was going back to the moving from New York to Florida, the hard time you were having, I would have offered to wear a GPS bracelet for a year.
RUSH: Well, now, this is 1997, 1998, and if you go back, I mean, the iPhone didn’t hit ’til 2007, don’t forget. GPS trackers and that kind of thing were very rudimentary and new. They were not cheap. And, as such, back then I don’t know that they would have been widely accepted. I can just tell you that it didn’t occur to me, and I am Mr. High-tech. But I don’t think they’re gonna accept even things like this. They’ll always claim somebody else could be wearing it. You’d have to have the thing implanted. And even then, they will claim that anybody could get in, hack it, or input false data.
I guess I should make this point. They are gonna get money out of you even when you don’t live there. The objective is to make you pay even after you leave. Their objective is to get you to pay as much as they can force you to pay. And they will put you look at the ringer. They will put you through the bills of lawyers and accountants. They won’t leave you alone. You end up paying whatever just to end it, is what a lot of people end up doing.
You see, it’s not about the specifics. You’re made to think that it is. But the long range objective is to get people who have left the state to keep paying the state, and as much as they can get you to pay. It’s not about where you really are. Those are just techniques they use to either guilt you or intimidate you or to speed your process and thinking toward ending it, ending the confrontation, ending the conflagration.
But on the other hand, you know, “Here’s my iPhone, New York state, this is where I was. I mean, my location data in the iPhone can’t be faked.”
“Yeah, but do you have another phone?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“Well, what do they say?”
“Well, I guaran-damn-tee you I haven’t put one in New York when I’m not there.”
“I don’t care. We want to see it.” Then they’ll get into all kinds of things about how that can maybe be tampered with. There is no presumption of innocence when taxes are concerned. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Now, again, my situation didn’t end up in tax court. This is all back-and-forth with auditors and lawyers.
But in tax court, if you actually end up there, you are presumed guilty. That’s the starting point. And you do. It’s the only place theoretically where you have to prove your innocence. It’s the only place you have to prove you didn’t do what they’re claiming that you did, or that you don’t owe what they claim you owe.
Then there’s also this factor, too, folks. If you happen to be a high profile person, let’s say you happen to be considered controversial. And let’s say the reason you’re controversial is because you believe things that most of the people in the state you’re leaving don’t believe. Well, you go out and hire accountants and lawyers, and in some cases they’re not gonna push real hard in defending the controversial person because they are afraid the taxing authorities will come after them. Guilt by association.
I’ve seen all of this, folks. I’m telling you I have, 1997 and now, that’s 20 years, I’ve got a 20-year head start on everybody who’s just now contemplating leaving their high-tax state. And what this is prompted by, Trump tax reform, which caps the deductibility of state and local taxes at $10,000. They want to leave because of that.
And the taxing authorities are saying, “Well, good luck selling your house. He-he-he. ‘Cause with this new property tax deal we got here, who you gonna sell it to?” Especially when you own one of those mansions out on Park Avenue in the Hamptons. Who’s gonna buy it except a Saudi Arabian guy that’s never here who, by the way, they’ll never chase for taxes.
So as Mr. Snerdley said, “Where is the freedom in all of this?” Look, Reason magazine has a story up that Drudge has linked to. It basically says that more and more of what we do depends on government permission. I’ve had time to read a little bit of the story. If you want to build a bridge over a swimming pool, you need a permit. If you want to have your lights on in the backyard during turtle season, you can’t. There is no getting permission. You just can’t do it. They have spies running around with cheap little cameras trying to claim that your 40-watt lightbulb 300 feet away is blinding sea turtles.