‘We have to make changes’: Commission would look to pinpoint why New Yorkers leaving

Commission could study why people are moving out of NY

Two Capital Region legislators want leaders to hear that answer directly from the people leaving. Then they want to stop it from happening.

Why are people leaving New York State in droves? Two Capital Region legislators want leaders to hear the answer directly from people leaving, then stop it from happening.

New York leads the nation when it comes to people moving elsewhere. Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, and Republican Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-Saratoga Springs, want to study why people are fleeing the state so they can quickly reverse the trend.

“This is the most important question, why are you thinking about, why are your relatives thinking about, why did some of your loved ones leave?” said Tedisco.

The bill, to be introduced at the start of the session next week, would create the Out-migration Commission comprised of 13 members to pose those questions to New Yorkers. They’d be appointed by the governor and others to hear New Yorkers’ opinions on laws and regulations—topics like education, healthcare and tax relief.

The goal is to identify policies driving people away; for example, it would seek to identify how to keep people from retiring elsewhere.  

“Fifteen other states do not tax pension payouts. It’s a simple change that we could be competitive with these 15 other states that already do this,” Santabarbara said.

“This isn’t happening all at once right now, it’s happened over a period of years, since we’ve had one voice from one political affiliation from one region of the state,” Tedisco said.

Census data show the state lost more than 100,000 people last year, topping the nation. New York’s population loss cost the state a seat in Congress last year. It’s on track to lose another three seats in Washington, D.C. after the census in 2030.

“Losing that seat the last census, that hurt New York,” Santabarbara said.

“That’s an indication that we’re losing the power to get people to bring back our dollars to do the programs we need to do and keep our taxes down,” Tedisco said.

Santabarbara said he believes Democrats will accept the proposed changes because both parties will be committed to working together on solutions.

“Having a commission do it in this way where it is a bipartisan commission, I think you’ll find bipartisan solutions, things that everybody can agree on,” he said. “At the end of all this, we have to. We have to make changes that reverse the trend that we’re seeing now. I think we have to.”

“They bury their head in the sand when all this comes up that we’re number one in out-migration. They give a whole bunch of excuses why this is happening but they don’t care about the reasons why. Bring to us, not excuses anymore, but the reasons why people are leaving the state, and some solutions, some ideas, some directions we can take to mitigate this out-migration,” Tedisco said.

Santabarbara and Tedisco are looking to get funding for the commission in this year’s budget. A final report and recommendations would be provided to the governor and legislature 90 days after the hearings are complete.