Months after telling Republicans to ‘head down to Florida where you belong,’ New York Governor Hochul says the state has to figure out how to stop people from leaving

Lazy eyes listen


In her New Year’s Day Inaugural speech following her 2022 election, New York Governor Kathy Hochul addressed one of the most serious issues confronting her state: people fleeing New York to avoid the consequences of Democratic policies.

Her remarks were a far cry from her campaign rhetoric in August, when she suggested that her political opponents, including Rep. Lee Zeldin, should be imprisoned “Just get on a bus and go to Florida, where you belong. You are not from New York.”

Many people have followed this advice in recent months and years, fleeing New York’s oppressive, anti-business climate and high crime rates for the greener pastures of Florida and other states. According to the Census Bureau, New York will have the greatest population decline of any state in the union in 2022, while Florida will have the greatest rate of population growth.

In her speech, Hochul lamented this trend, saying, “We must and will make our state more secure… We must make our state more affordable… We also need to reverse the trend of people leaving our state in search of lower costs and better opportunities elsewhere.”

There have been numerous reasons for New Yorkers to leave the state in recent years, including some of the harshest coronavirus pandemic response measures in the country (responses that severely harmed New York’s economy but did not slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state), high corporate and personal tax rates, the state’s consistently low ratings in personal and business freedom, and the disastrous tenure of former New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, which saw many New Yorkers flee.

Hochul’s speech made no promises to address or reverse any of these decisions, nor did it acknowledge that Democrats may have made mistakes in enacting any of these policies. Hochul has also faced criticism from within her own party for her efforts to reduce crime in New York. Hochul wanted to make significant changes to New York’s contentious bail reform law this year, but faced stiff opposition from Democrats in the legislature, despite the bill’s support from New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Some of her reforms eventually made it into the state budget proposal, but neither they nor anything else has effectively stopped the exodus from New York to greener pastures elsewhere in the United States.