President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that people are moving out of New York “like never before” — but the reality of population changes in the president’s home state is more complicated.
In a series of tweets Tuesday, Trump blamed high taxes and the state’s leaders for prompting people to move.
“People are fleeing New York like never before,” he wrote. “If they own a business, they are twice as likely to flee.”
While it’s true that New York has led the nation recently in the number of residents moving to other states, the number was far bigger in the 1970s, according to E.J. McMahon, of the Albany-based Empire Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank.
Even if the numbers do not constitute a record, McMahon said New York is experiencing a worrying trend.
“We do have an out-migration problem, and it should be a major economic concern,” he said.
Still, the state’s population of 19.4 million represents a slight increase since the 2010 census, thanks in large part to immigrants moving from other nations.
It was the second day in a row that Trump turned to Twitter to lash out at Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Attorney General Letitia James , whose office is overseeing investigations into Trump’s business dealings. Both are Democrats.
Cuomo has touted his work to cut taxes and fight the 2017 federal tax overhaul signed by Trump that sharply limited a deduction for state and local taxes that was popular with higher-income filers in high-tax states, like New York. State officials estimate the cap could increase tax liabilities for wealthier New Yorkers by as much as $14 billion a year, likely forcing some to head to lower-tax states.
Responding to Trump’s tweets, Cuomo said the president “is in la la land.”
“I lowered taxes in New York. Trump raised them. Try the truth for a change, Mr. President,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Cuomo and lawmakers have approved a series of tax cuts for the middle class that state officials estimate will save taxpayers $4.2 billion by 2025. In addition, Cuomo has pushed through a cap on local property tax increases, making it harder for cities and towns to increase local taxes.
Cuomo has speculated that New York’s weather has played a role in prompting older residents to relocate to warmer states.
Republicans have dismissed the idea as unproven and tend to blame a history of high taxes and a poor business climate for the declines.
As for Trump’s assertion that business owners are twice as likely to leave New York, McMahon said he hasn’t seen any evidence to back up the claim. McMahon said he believes business owners are more likely than other workers to relocate, since they tend to be older, wealthier and perhaps looking to move to states without an estate tax.