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To Grow, Midwest States Should Cut Income Taxes

High state income taxes cause people, businesses, and money to move out of the Quad Cities, and the Midwest. That's according to author and small business owner, Travis Brown. This week, the St. Louis entrepreneur is in Illinois to talk with legislators and others about tax policy and his book. It's entitled, "How Money Walks - How Two Trillion Dollars Moved Between the States and Why It Matters."

Brown has developed an online, interactive map, based on IRS and census data from every county in the US. It shows that from 1992 through 2010, Illinois lost more than 29 billion dollars. That's the total income of everyone who left the state.

Brown's web app also shows Rock Island County lost more than 11,000 residents, who took 360 million dollars with them. Many moved to other counties in Illinois and Iowa, including Scott County and the Chicago area. But hundreds also moved all the way to Arizona. Scott County lost more than 5,000 residents, and their incomes totalled 211 million dollars.

But it also attracted people from California. Brown says counties, regional economic development authorities and others can use this data to attract even more residents from the Los Angeles area and build on that success.

Travis Brown's web site is at HowMoneyWalks.com. He and his wife live in St. Louis, where they run a public relations firm with about 35 employees. He's also the president of a coalition called, "Let Voters Decide" and contributes to "Forbes dot com."