Report Shows New Yorkers Eager To Leave Amid COVID & Cost-Of-Living Concerns

Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

Residents in New York want out; and as recent tax rankings show – metrics that illustrate New York continues to have one of the worst economic climates in the U.S. – it is no surprise they are fleeing in droves.

According to the latest study from Redfin, New York and California were the two states exhibiting the most interest from residents looking to relocate.  In just the third quarter alone, close to 47,000 more users were looking to leave New York than move into New York. That number represents a 35-percent jump from the same period last year.

For years, New York’s outmigration problems have been well documented. The state’s overall population has fallen to fourth in the nation (not too long ago, we were ahead of Florida) and its diminishing numbers have threatened our Congressional representation and tax base. The reason for the mass exodus is simple, and it’s the same reason people have been fleeing since Gov. Cuomo took office—the tax climate here is toxic.

Each year, The Tax Foundation publishes a ranking based on the theoretical amount of time it takes each state’s residents to pay off their local, state and federal tax obligations. Of all 50 states, New York ranked dead last with the latest such date: May 3. This “Tax Freedom Day” is more than a month after states like Oklahoma and Alaska. Florida’s Tax Freedom Day is April 4. That means New Yorkers have to work harder and longer than any other states’ residents in the entire nation just to pay their tax bill. This trend is unsustainable.

To that end, the Assembly Minority Conference has consistently advocated for reforms to the state’s prohibitive tax climate and has railed against the liberal majority’s failure to acknowledge the long-term harm it is imposing on New York. We have proposed a number of initiatives, ranging from making the 2-percent property tax cap permanent, to eliminating unfunded mandates and cutting business taxes in order to reduce the burdens facing residents and business owners.

Top-earning entrepreneurs, small-business owners and valuable human resources do not want to live and work here, and the impact of that reality becomes more obvious with each new report and ranking. Compounding the problem, businesses and residents are now faced with the years-long process of recovering from COVID-19’s economic devastation. Unfortunately, the governor and legislative majorities have been unwilling to reverse course and devise common-sense solutions to fix these problems. I’m not sure what could possibly be more alarming than being ranked the worst state in the nation, but clearly this has not motivated them to take action. Until they do something else, New York will continue to flounder, and it will continue to slide further away from viability, growth and prosperity.