Op-Ed: Opportunity to Address Outmigration From New York State


Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb

Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb

Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C,I,Ref-Canandaigua)
Not only are New York’s high taxes and suffocating regulations holding New Yorkers back, they’re driving them away. The insufferable business climate and nation’s worst tax burden have broken the camel’s back for many. According to an Empire Center report released earlier this week, 46 of 62 New York counties have lost population since 2010.

Statewide, New York was net negative during the 2015-2016, largely due to the loss of 23,434 residents upstate. Without a drastic overhaul of the way New York conducts itself, our shrinking tax base will only compound our economic woes.


It’s no secret that affordability is a central reason why so many New Yorkers look for greener pastures. As the cost-of-living grows, so does the number of people leaving. With the April 1 budget deadline approaching, we need a responsible spending plan that eases fiscal pressures.

I have said for years, New York State does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. And while Albany has done a better job keeping budgets in line in recent years, we still have a long way to go. Here are a few numbers to keep in mind:

  • Florida’s population is roughly 19.9 million people, with a state budget of $83.5 billion.
  • New York’s population is slightly smaller with approximately 19.7 million people, but our proposed budget this year is $152.3 billion.

Ironically, in 2014, Florida leapfrogged New York as the third most populous state in the country. While residents have fled, the governor’s fiscal focus has been on: raising the minimum wage to an unsustainable rate, lucrative handouts to Hollywood elites, and ineffective economic development programs that don’t assist everyday New Yorkers and small businesses. This budget represents a chance to make New York a magnet for new residents, not the repellent it has become during his administration.


The Assembly Minority Conference has fought for permanent, sustainable economic reform and measures that allow New Yorkers to keep more of their hard-earned dollars. We must eliminate unfunded mandates to lower property taxes, create tax-incentive programs that work for all and improve crumbling infrastructure or we risk communities that cannot adequately connect their vital services. We must roll back needless regulations that place disruptive obstacles in the way of small businesses and increase financial strain on consumers.

Our success will only come when the disease crippling our quality of life is cured; merely masking the symptoms with flashy headlines does nothing to move us forward. If the governor is serious about retaining residents and growing our economy, he would do well to look toward sustained comprehensive reforms.

Contact Assemblyman Brian Kolb at kolbb@nyassembly.gov, find him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

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