New Yorkers confirm high taxes are pushing them to flee the state in droves

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A new poll could spell big trouble for New York: Nearly four of every 10 voters here are thinking of fleeing. Their No. 1 reason: high taxes.

The survey, released this month by Zogby, found that 38.9% of voters are “considering” or already have “made plans” to head out, up five points from a month earlier. If even just half do, New York could lose millions of residents and enormous political clout, not to mention the tax revenue these folks pay.

Most notably, a stunning 36.7% say their top reason for wanting out is that taxes are “too high,” a gripe more people cited than any other. Even a quarter of “progressives,” 32% of “liberals” and 38% of “moderates” cite high taxes as their strongest motivation to leave.

Never mind the druggies and crazies, disastrous schools or even surging crime (though 48% say crime’s Priority One for the next gov, vs. 43% who cite taxes). And so much for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s blaming the weather; only 7.7% cited that as their chief reason.

Seems New Yorkers don’t really like giving up more of their hard-earned cash than their peers in other states, after all. And that’s true not just for high rollers but many low- and middle-income folks as well: 26% of those making less than $35,000 a year also listed too-high-taxes as their key motivation for eyeing the exits, as did 27% of those earning from $35,000 to $75,000, 41% of those at $75,000-$100,000 and 48% in the $100,000-$150,000 range.

They’re certainly right about New York’s tax burden: It’s long been among the nation’s highest, and the Democrat-dominated Legislature keeps pushing to make it worse. Last year, when Dems slapped another $4 billion tax on high-end earners, making the top combined city-and-state rate a whopping 14.8%, we asked if lawmakers were actively “trying to fuel a mass exodus.” Looks like that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Notably, the second-most cited reason — a desire to find a “better job or economic opportunities” — is linked to the first: High taxes spur not only people but companies to flee and take jobs with them, reducing opportunity. That helps explain why New York so often suffers more unemployment than elsewhere: In January, the national jobless rate was 4%, but 5.3% in the state (and 7.6% in the city).

Alas, the Democrats in Albany couldn’t care less: The billions the state got in federal “COVID aid” sparked historic budget surpluses, as Empire Center watchdog Peter Warren notes, yet Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget, due by month’s end, makes no effort whatsoever to roll back last year’s absurd tax hit and offers only “cosmetic” adjustments to middle-class taxes.

With pro-tax Democrats like Hochul maintaining a lock on state government, no one should expect much relief soon. Last one out, please turn off the lights.



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