It’s escape from New York 2.0.
Blue states losing population to red states is no new phenomenon. In fact, the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal reported back in 2015 that on net basis 1,000 people were moving from blue states to red states back then. Among those gradually losing population is New York, a state that was once synonymous with America itself for many immigrants.
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated those existing trends however, and New York had the largest 2019-2020 population decline of any state, fueled by high taxes, rising crime, and incompetent leadership.
And to the dismay of Florida’s residents, their state is the #1 destination for New York’s refugees. And now New York’s businesses are following their lead.
As the New York Post reported: “Two weeks ago, when the thermometer plunged below 20 and indoor dining was still off-limits in the city, intrepid New Yorkers continued to cling to vestiges of their social lives. But just a short flight away — in tony Palm Beach, Fla., where La Goulue recently opened an outpost that’s a mirror image of its Manhattan mother ship — all inside tables and seats at the bar are full. Patrons are laughing and living it up, seemingly oblivious to the perils of fraternizing during a pandemic.”
As New York’s leadership has been the enemy of business, Florida has been the opposite.
Le Bilboquet’s owner, Philippe Delgrange, is also in Palm Beach, where he premiered his famous boîte’s Southern sister this week. “[Palm Beach] is really working with you, not trying to put wood in your wheels,’’ he said, no doubt referencing how New York City restaurants are just now, after two months of closure, allowed to seat indoor diners at 25 percent capacity. “I have seen so many friends of mine, I can’t believe it. And all our New York staff is asking to come work here.’’
While legendary New York spots like 21 and Cipriani are shuttering, a chic Monkey Bar premiered at the new Opal Grand hotel in Palm Beach County this week, and New York restaurant group Host (Campagnola, Bill’s Townhouse) is unveiling a new Delray Beach, Fla., steakhouse, Avalon, at the end of the month.
That feeling of freedom goes beyond just restaurants, too. Fitness addicts can only take masked spin sessions with a virtual instructor at gyms in New York, but SoulCycle is now holding al-fresco classes on the green of the island’s Royal Poinciana Plaza. It’s next to an outpost of New York’s Paul Labrecque salon, where clients catch rays in the courtyard while their color sets and their nails dry.
Lincoln Center, Broadway and Carnegie Hall are all dark, but live jazz performances have just been announced for later this month at the Kravis Center in West Palm.
As I note in my forthcoming book Dumb and Dumber: How Cuomo and De Blasio Ruined New York, Florida and New York are worlds apart when it comes to the role of government in everyday life, and that does a lot to explain why it’s the #1 destination for those leaving New York.
New York and Florida have similar populations, but New York’s government spends about double what Florida’s does. The two are similar only in spending on transportation, police, fire, parks, sewers, and solid waste. In other words, the kind of government spending no one has a problem with.
New York spent $69 billion on education in 2017 compared to Florida’s $28 billion (with a similar number of kids enrolled), and yet they don’t get much bang for their buck. The two rank similarly on a handful of rankings of educating. Florida ranks 27th on U.S. News & World Report’s education rankings to New York’s 25th. While graduation rates are similar between the two states (86% in New York vs. 88% in Florida), only nine schools in the entire state of New York have a 100% graduation rate (of 1,217 ranked schools), while Florida has 41 (of 598 ranked schools).
On welfare, New York spends $71 billion to Florida’s $28 billion – or 2.5 times as much. New York’s welfare benefits are on par with that of a European social democracy. According to Michael Tanner, “In New York, a mother with two children under the age of five who participates in six major welfare programs (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, housing assistance, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and free commodities would receive a total benefits package with a value of more than $27,500 per year.”
Tanner also notes that New York does a poor job enforcing restrictions on state welfare. “A recent government report found that New York had almost 11,000 families with income over the statutory limit still living in public housing, by far the most in the nation; one family earning almost $500,000 continued to receive assistance.”
And as a result of all their inefficient and excess spending, New York spends $10 billion more annually on interest costs alone than Florida.
New York has a state government twice the size of Florida’s – and doesn’t get twice as much in return for it. In fact, they barely even get as much in return as Florida does spending half as much.
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