The following appears in the March 13-19, 2015 issue of the Long Island Business News:
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of watching Governor Andrew Cuomo’s propaganda commercials touting New York’s so-called economic renaissance. First of all, in my judgment, the money expended to run the ads is a waste of taxpayer money.
And secondly, the TV ads are delusional. The claim that New York is job- friendly is nothing more than empty rhetoric designed to promote Cuomo’s image nationally.
To get a realistic picture of New York’s financial and economic plight, here’s some interesting data that was released in the past year:
- The American Legislative Exchange Council ranked New York as having the worst economic outlook.
- More people have left New York to find greener economic pastures than any other state in the nation. Over 450 thousand have hit the road in the past four years.
- An AARP study revealed that 60 percent of New Yorkers over 50 years of age say they are likely to move to a less expensive state when they retire.
- The Empire Center for Public Policy reported that New Yorkers “pay some of the highest local taxes in the nation.” And, you will be happy to know that the Town of Oyster Bay gets the award for being “the highest-spending and most heavily indebted large town” in the state. This may help explain why the town is in deep financial trouble, lost its Moody’s insured rating on bonded debt and why, last November, it passed an 8.8 percent property tax increase without any notice to its residents.
- The Mercatus Center at George Mason University in its 2014 edition of “Freedom in the 50 states” determined that “New York is the least free state in the union.” The state has the highest taxes—14 percent of income. As a result, the researchers were not surprised that residents have been heading for the exits with, on net, 9 percent leaving since 2000. This is the highest migration figure in the nation.
- The University of Illinois ranked New York as having the most corrupt government in the United States.
To add to this dismal picture, this month the John Locke Foundation, a think tank dedicated to transforming government through competition, innovation, personal freedom and personal responsibility, released its “First in Freedom Index.” The report examines the relationship between tax and regulatory policies and economic growth as well as the fiscal, educational, regulatory, and healthcare freedom of the fifty states.
In the area of taxes, the First in Freedom Index concluded what New Yorkers know instinctively, “that most forms of state and local taxation have statistically significant and negative associations with economic growth. That is, the lower the tax, the better off the economy is, all things being equal.…”
And after assessing New York’s tax climate which includes income, sales, businesses, property and payroll taxes, the state came in last place.
When it comes to regulatory freedom, New York received a state ranking of 47th. Only Rhode Island, California and New Jersey received poorer ratings. In the area of healthcare freedom, New York was rated 49th.
Assessing all the data, the John Locke Foundation was able to make some interesting conclusions:
- Since 2011, the 10 top states have had a 2.3 percent annual average GDP growth rate while the 10 lowest experienced an average GDP growth rate of 1.5 percent.
- The 10 states that have highest rankings in healthcare freedom have average healthcare costs of $6,533 per person. The average healthcare costs of the 10 lowest rate states is $7,689 per person—18 percent higher.
All of these studies refute Cuomo’s wishful-thinking TV ads. His television campaign is an insult to New Yorkers who know better and if he has an ounce of integrity left he should order the commercials to be pulled.