Anyone who still thinks New Yorkers don’t mind high taxes or heavy-handed governance should ponder Tuesday’s population estimates from the US Census Bureau. Residents are voting with their feet — and heading for the exits in record numbers.
According to a report by the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon, New York could be on its way “to its first population decline in any decade since the 1970s.” Its headcount fell by a whopping 126,355, or 0.65 percent, to a total of 19,336,776 over the year that ended July 1, the estimates indicate — the biggest drop of any state, both as a percentage and in absolute numbers.
Notably, this only covers 4 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, when even more people left town — some temporarily, but others clearly for good: As The Post reported in November based on US Postal Service change-of-address requests, more than 300,000 New Yorkers fled the city alone since March.
Meanwhile, over the decade, the state’s population plummeted by 41,326, or 0.21 percent, even as the nation as a whole grew nearly 7 percent. The big winners: Low-tax Florida and Texas, growing 16 percent and 17 percent since 2010.
COVID and the extreme local lockdowns have surely helped drive New Yorkers to leave, but the newly expanded work-from-home model for employees means many won’t return. High taxes, too, are a long-term bane: New York’s state and local tax burden is among the nation’s highest — and state lawmakers are now racing to make it worse.
Violent crime has spiked, too, thanks to foolish new laws that appease anti-cop radicals. Nor did the (needless) shutdown of public schools help.
Make no mistake: The exodus has grave consequences for New York — a shrinking tax base, for starters. And if the estimates hold up, the state will lose two of its 27 US House seats, continuing a slide since the ’50s, when New York had 45 seats. Get set for even less clout in Washington — and less funding from it.
The progressive formula of ever-higher taxes, more and more regulations, ever-weaker law enforcement and so on may work for some people — but it’s driving everyone else away. And, as the great Lady Margaret Thatcher once noted, eventually you run out of other people’s money to spend.
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