New York State is in trouble.
The stats show it, the state has still not recovered the number of jobs it had pre-pandemic – even California has surpassed its job total. The population “decreased by another 180,341 people during the 12 months ending July 1, 2022, according to just-released U.S. Census Bureau estimates.”
The state budget shows it. Projections of when the state will go into the red keep getting adjusted sooner and sooner. Yet, this year’s budget is likely to come in around $230 billion, a massive figure which does not get back on a pre-pandemic track.
Taxpayers are fleeing the highest combined income tax rate in the nation. Business owners are fleeing heavy regulations, and costly labor rules. Despite radical energy policies that drive up prices for New Yorkers, the state’s emissions have not fallen out of line with neighboring Pennsylvania – which did not join the regional cap-and-trade scheme (until Gov. Wolf’s unconstitutional effort) and exports natural gas to New York.
This session should be an opportunity for legislators and Governor Hochul to recognize the disaster unfolding around them, and to change course for the good of their voters.
Instead, as the state sinks like the Titanic, the Democrat super majority is working to finish the job. Based on their policy priorities, it seems as if they want to fast forward to the part of the movie where the ship breaks in half and everyone drowns.
High taxes are crushing New Yorkers, but Democrats have proposed a tax on digital services, everything from Netflix to Uber (which is already taxed extra in New York City). This tax is to replace the Governor’s payroll tax hike proposal that received criticism. But both are tax increases New Yorkers cannot afford, and they both would go to bailout the transit authority, the MTA.
The taxes don’t stop there, Sen. Andrew Gounardes is pushing a tax on deliveries, like Amazon packages. The justification is absurd, it’s hard to imagine a more taxed activity than delivering a package – which is already subject to gas tax, tolls, payroll taxes, sales tax, corporate taxes. It’s another desperate money grab that would be piled on to the states absurd tax burden, making life more unaffordable for everyone.
The legislature is considering more high-cost energy policies that will choke supply, like building electrification that bans gas stoves, and imposing a cap-and-trade scheme just for New York. Yes, a state that is already in a regional cap-and-trade agreement wants to also have a single state system. New Yorkers already pay much higher energy bills than the average American yet their legislators are working hard to make it worse – and the state’s ‘Green New Deal’ plans are not even fully implemented yet.
After property owners were throttled by the pandemic eviction moratorium, legislators have a proposal to implement “good cause” eviction standards that would further make owning and renting property in the state a nightmare. Any rent increase over just 3% would not be allowed without a court fight – more stringent than California or Oregon.
Meanwhile, in Florida, the state taking in so many New York refugees, Gov. DeSantis just signed a bill banning local rent control.
New York already has one of the highest minimum wages in the nation, and has also pushed through rules like overtime standards for farm workers that will crush the state’s family farms. Still, a bill from Sen. Jessica Ramos would impose a $21.25-per-hour minimum wage downstate.
The last hike drove up inflation and cost jobs and hours: “In a survey conducted by New York City Hospitality Alliance late last year, about 75 percent of the more than 300 respondents operating full-service restaurants reported they’ll reduce employee hours this year because of the new wage increases, while 47 percent said they’ll eliminate jobs.”
This one would do the same. Unions, whose workers who are not directly subject to the wage, push these plans because the higher minimum bumps up the wages their members get. That’s why they drove former governor Andrew Cuomo around the state on a campaign bus the last time this push happened.
The State Senate is even fighting an expansion of the number of charter schools that are allowed to operate in the state.
Despite the evidence of the failure of these policies staring them in the face every day, the Democrat supermajority and Gov. Hochul are about to double down. Unless lawmakers see reason right now, New Yorkers will face even higher and more taxes, more lost jobs, more closing businesses, higher energy costs, and more of their neighbors throwing in the towel and moving out.