In recent years, New York state has faced some major declines in population.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, New York was one of only nine states to see a decrease and is placed at number one for fastest population loss.  Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, attributed the decline to “climate-based reasons” for people deciding to move to warmer places such as Florida or the Carolinas.  Yes, the weather in New York can be terrible in the winter months, especially upstate, but perhaps it is the liberal policies, crippling taxes, and out of touch leadership that is driving people out.  

Much of Upstate New York is controlled by downstate Democrats and New York City.  Looking at the 2018 midterm election map, Republican challenger for Governor, Marc Molinaro carried most of the upstate counties.  Governor Cuomo, on the other hand, won in New York City and Long Island, securing his third term.  Even if we take a look back at the 2016 election map, we can see that President Trump won most of the upstate counties.  Those of us living in those areas are getting tired of being controlled by the liberal policies and politicians voted in by those in New York City.  Due to that fact, people have been left no choice but to leave the state for one that listens and responds to their needs.

As many of us already know, Governor Cuomo recently signed the Reproductive Health Act, which legalizes third-term abortions, and allows them to be performed by non-physicians.  This attack on the lives of the unborn has angered many New Yorkers, and the cheering by the legislature when the Act was signed has left a sour taste in our mouths.  

When it comes to owning a gun in New York, being approved for a pistol permit can take over a year to obtain due to the multiple background checks, references that must live in the same town as you, and the fact that you have to make an appointment at the County Clerk’s office just to turn in your application.  When I went to a shooting range with my father, I was denied permission to shoot his pistol because I didn’t have my permit yet. If you want to practice your shooting and safety skills, you’re out of luck. In New York, you aren’t even allowed to touch a pistol without a permit. 

State Senator Kevin Parker has proposed a bill that would require everyone seeking or renewing a permit to turn over the passwords to their social media accounts, where up to three years of posts and one year of search history could be accessed.  Parker doesn’t believe that this bill goes too far. If it were to be passed, the Constitutionality of it will certainly be up for debate. It may also be remembered that Senator Parker told a Republican State Senate spokeswoman to kill herself on Twitter back in December.  

Taxes in New York State are another problem driving people away, coming in at number eight for highest personal income taxes in the country at 8.82 percent.  According to the Tax Foundation, New York is ranked number one for both state and local individual income tax collections per capita at $2789, and state and local tax burdens at 12.7 percent.  As far as property taxes go, NY is ranked fourth for state and local tax collections per capita, at $2697.  This isn’t including school taxes and town property taxes which have where I live at least, increased to 12 percent in just three years.  

Governor Cuomo just announced that state income tax revenue has dropped by $2.3 billion as a result of the new federal tax code.  New York had planned to spend $176 billion in the 2019 fiscal year but might have to rethink that number due to the loss.  New York has a progressive income tax system which means the rich are taxed higher so naturally, they are some of the first ones to flee the state and take their money with them.  Despite the new federal tax code, the loss of tax revenue is a direct result of the declining population.  

New York’s latest money grab comes in the form of new license plates.  Starting April 1, 2020, those with license plates older than 10 years must pay $25 for a new plate and an additional $20 if they wish to keep the old plate’s numbers.  Cuomo defended this plan by claiming the old plates are not compatible with cashless toll technology; however, the new technology currently in place has no problem reading old plates.  This is just a way to force people into paying the state to make up for its declining tax base.  

Some comments made by the Governor in the recent past have not left New Yorkers very happy with him.  During a debate with his Democratic challenger in 2018, he referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents as “a bunch of thugs.”  Governor Cuomo sent a cease-and-desist letter to ICE agents after they detained 225 suspected illegal immigrants in NYC, 180 of which had outstanding criminal convictions or charges.  

Also during his 2018 re-election bid, the Governor said, “We’re not going to make America great again; it was never that great.”  Even in his audience of supporters, gasps could be heard across the room. Saying America was never great is not what people want to hear from their leader, nor is it the best thing to say when people are already leaving at an alarming rate.  

Besides his comments, there is a history of corruption surrounding the Governor.  A former aide, Joseph Percoco was convicted of three felonies for his role in a bribery scheme where he accepted over $300,000 in bribes.  One of Cuomo’s initiatives, Buffalo Billion, was meant to invest $1 billion in the economy of Buffalo, NY.  Six people involved with the initiative were charged with bid rigging, including Alain Kaloyeros, who aided Cuomo’s economic development efforts.  Governor Cuomo has also been investigated by former U.S. Attorney Bharara, for allegations that his staff interfered with the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, which he disbanded in 2014.  

With the current rate of population loss, New York State is projected to lose two congressional seats after the 2020 census, dropping from 27 congressional districts to 25.  Upstate New Yorkers are fed up with being under the control of New York City and are displeased with the policies that govern them.  President Trump himself encouraged residents who are unhappy with New York to “go to another state.”  The people of New York deserve someone they can trust to work for their best interests.  Our rights must be preserved, not restricted by out of touch leadership.  

Rebecca K