This is the time of year when young New Yorkers by the tens of thousands walk across a stage to accept high school diplomas or college degrees. It’s a time for celebration, but also a time to think about the future. Unfortunately, many young New Yorkers believe that they have no future in their home state.
Some 36 percent of New Yorkers under the age of 30 are planning to move out of the state over the next five years, according to a recent Marist College polls. Some might see this as the unsurprising result of upstate’s long economic decline. But, in fact, high property taxes in the city’s suburban communities are helping to drive the exodus. Young people believe, with good reason, that they simply cannot afford to live in a high-tax state like New York.
The poll’s director, Lee Miringoff, noted that “a lot of people are questioning the affordability of the state.” That’s bad news–very bad news–for all of us. New York takes great pride in its ability to attract smart, creative young people from all over the globe. But if high taxes and cost-of-living expenses are driving New Yorkers out of state, the flow of other young people into the state surely will dry up.
No doubt some will argue that the hyperambitious won’t let taxes keep them from living their New York dreams. That’s wishful thinking. While the city and its surrounding suburbs certainly do offer rewards that other cities cannot match, ever-increasing taxes are bound to make the city increasingly less attractive.
The Marist poll is a warning to policy makers. New York is taxing away its young people. That simply cannot continue.