Smullen: New York State Has a Lot of Work to do to Improve its Economic Competitiveness and Future

Assemblyman Robert Smullen (R,C-Mohawk Valley and the Adirondacks) was proud to organize a press conference alongside Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C-Pulaski), Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square), Sen. George Borrello, other members of the Assembly and Senate Minority Conferences and representatives from across the state and country to discuss New York state’s economy and future. Guest speakers included Jonathan Williams, the chief economist and executive vice president of policy at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), Ashley Ranslow, director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne. The ultimate goal of this press conference was to promote collaboration between state lawmakers and economic representatives to formulate strategies that will lead to an economically prosperous state, ultimately relieving the tax burden on residents and businesses statewide.

“It is very important we continue to voice our concerns and discuss our ideas on how we can improve our state’s financial future,” said Smullen. “Tax Day has come and gone, state budget finalizations are right around the corner, and yet, many New Yorkers are in agreement our state’s economic outlook is bleak. The tax burden is crushing, inflation rates continue to be elevated and many residents cannot afford to live in their homes anymore and are either downsizing or leaving the state. We cannot let this outmigration continue, and it starts with acknowledging what New York state could do differently to improve its position.”

Apart from highlighting the significance of Tax Day in New York state and the U.S., the press conference featured several guests, including Jonathan Williams, the chief economist and executive vice president of policy of the ALEC, to summarize and analyze the findings of the 2024 Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index, which compares the economic status and outlook of all 50 states in the U.S. According to this year’s report, on a scale of one to 50—one being the best and 50 being the worst—New York state is ranked 29 in economic performance and 50 in economic outlook. While our state’s economic performance ranking slightly improved since last year—in 2023 it was ranked 31—New York state has been ranked 50 in economic outlook since 2014.

“Our state’s economic outlook ranking has not shifted in a decade,” Smullen continued. “This is unacceptable and needs to change. The state of Utah’s economic outlook ranking is one out of 50 for 2024—it has maintained this ranking for the past 14 years. What is Utah doing differently, and what makes it unique from the other 50 states? New York state should be taking a page out of Utah’s book and others to improve its current position and prepare for the future. New York residents are voting with their feet, and they will continue to leave in larger and larger numbers if nothing changes.”

ATR President Grover Norquist, Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne and NFIB Director Ashley Ranslow also spoke, adding their own experiences and expertise to the discussion to highlight how New York state’s hefty tax burden has impacted residents, small businesses and communities throughout the state.

“I applaud this collaboration between lawmakers and economic representatives from across the state and country, and I am hopeful it will make a difference in forming strategies and solutions to revitalize our state’s economy. Together, we can improve New York’s financial future,” concluded Smullen.

Editor’s Note: To view the 2024 Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index, please visit their Web site.