In a little over a month, I will celebrate my 50th birthday and as I recently told my daughters, my initiative going forward is all about quality of life. They looked a bit surprised when I told them that I’ve crested the hill and am going down the back side of the mountain as statistics show that I’m probably at or near sixty percent of my life expectancy. A sobering thought although I certainly hope I defy those odds and live to the healthy, ripe old age of ninety or so. The point is that quality of life is my primary goal and that to me is defined as low cost of living, less government intrusion, decent weather and a robust business environment. Sadly, New York doesn’t supply any of that and it probably won’t in my lifetime if it ever does again.
Born and raised in the Mid-Hudson Valley I cannot recall one time that I said – I can’t wait for winter to get here. No, usually what I’m wishing for is spring. Besides the weather I believe that New York, like so many other blue states, is headed down a dangerous path, one that will no doubt feature an implosion. I honestly do not believe that the problems we face – high taxes, too much government, a poor business climate and little personal freedom – will be fixed in my lifetime and if they are, it will be far too late for it to be advantageous to me. What I really worry about is my kids – what future can they possibly have here? What jobs or business opportunities exist? How will they ever afford to buy a house and pay the outrageous taxes? Oh don’t worry. The State Legislature has been “working on” the high property taxes since Hinchey was in the Assembly.
After hearing Travis Brown, of http://www.howmoneywalks.com, speak recently I ordered his book and I’m sure when it arrives it will be the umpteenth resource I have to prove what I already know – high taxes are driving people out of NYS. According to Brown, who pulled all his data from IRS records, between 1992 and 2010 $68.1 billion in AGI (adjusted gross income) left the state of New York. Most of that money went to Florida. What a shocker.
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University identifies New York as the least free (personal and economic) state out of all fifty and here’s what their recent report says, “New York is by far the least free state in the Union. It is therefore no surprise that New York residents have been heading for the exits: 9.0 percent of the state’s 2000 population, on net, left the state for another state between 2000 and 2011, the highest such figure in the nation.”
State credit ratings are another issue for New York. The state is not at the bottom of the rankings, but it’s not at the top either. Fixed with a mid-line AA credit rating according to the Tax Foundation and a fiscal condition rank of 40 (yes, out of 50), things in New York aren’t looking too rosy in the fiscal category either. Florida, by the way, has a credit rating of AAA and a fiscal rank of 4, respectively.
Not that you haven’t heard this before, but NYS consistently has the worst business climate according to the Tax Foundation. So bad in fact that NY continues to hold the prestigious #50 spot. This, despite Cuomo’s nonsensical Start Up NY program where he’s projected to spend $323 million over the next three years according to a report issued from the Governor’s budget office.
And the award for the highest taxes in the nation also goes to NY. What an honor bestowed upon us with 14% of income on average going to taxes and fees.
Strong job growth projections as predicted by numerous research and economic organizations do not include New York either. Top job growth in the states according to Pew Charitable Trusts will be in this order: North Dakota, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. And no shock, New York is projected to remain near the bottom of the list for job growth with only Vermont, Maine, Illinois and DC behind us.
So here is my definition of quality of life:
1) Low taxes and low cost of living to allow me to keep more of what I earn
2) Growing business climate to provide opportunities to make a profit and grow a business
3) Great year round weather to enable me to enjoy leisure time with swimming, walking, biking, playing tennis and probably taking up golf again
4) More freedom and less government intrusion for greater personal liberty
It wouldn’t hurt my feelings any if there were far fewer liberals and far more fiscal conservatives either. With that said and please forgive the longer than usual post, it is my intention to leave New York – the state I have called home for almost fifty years – for greener pastures, a lower cost of living and a much better climate (business and environment) by the fall of this year. Yes, I am heading to the Sunshine State and I will learn to deal with lizards, alligators and hurricanes, which will beat deer ticks, liberals and blizzards any day of the week.