Ultra-Wealthy Flee the Big Apple as High Crime and Excessive Taxation Chase Them Away

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On Monday, I wrote an article regarding Ron DeSantis’ epic dunk on New York City Eric Adams’ attempts to shame the Florida governor over his policies. A Twitter user clapped back:


The problem with this kind of misguided thinking is that it ignores an obvious point: New Yorkers have been fleeing the city in droves since the start of the pandemic, and many of them are multi-millionaires or billionaires who pay most of the taxes that keep the Big Apple running.

Daily Mail reports on the exodus of residents (and money):

New figures from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance shows that the millionaire exodus from the Empire State that began during the Covid-19 pandemic did not let up in 2021.

The number of those earning more than $25 million that fled the state in 2021 is 1,453, just 520 less than the amount that left at the height of lockdowns and intense social distancing.

I’m not a math whiz, but I’m not incapable either, so let’s do some calculations…1,452 residents worth over $25 million left in 2021, plus a whole bunch before that. That’s a lot of deserters. I plug that into my Excel spreadsheet and it says, “a whole lot of tax revenue just fled for the hills.”

You might think, well, New York has plenty of taxpayers, it’s not that big a deal. But consider this: the top one percent of earners in New York account for close to half of the state’s income tax revenue.


Who left? Here’s a partial list:

  • In 2020, Queens native billionaire Carl Icahn (net worth: $18.5 billion) confirmed he left his hometown for Florida due to taxation reasons.
  • Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper (estimated net worth also at $18.5 billion) took his operations to Florida.
  • Hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones, whose net worth is $7.3 billion, left the Big Apple for the Palm Beach area, citing tax reasons.
  • Billionaire real estate developer Stephen Ross ($11.6 billion) said his company is expanding its operations to… you guessed it, Florida. Although he’s not abandoning New York altogether, he does admit, “It’s tax issues, and there’s the security issues. There’s just the ease of living.”

What’s behind the exodus? Well, the exorbitant New York taxation, for starters. The NY Post reports that the Luv Guv’s millionaire’s tax drove off plenty of wealthy people:

The exodus followed a “millionaire’s tax” by disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2020 as part of COVID-relief budget that hiked the top rate to 9.65% from 8.82%, making New York the highest-taxed state in the country.

“It’s preposterous to deny that it isn’t one of the key determinants,” [Empire Center for Public Policy analyst EJ] McMahon told the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal. “And it’s the variable that the state government controls.”


But it’s not just the taxes—it’s crime and quality of living. What the Twitter user who responded to me above calls “occasional subway incidents” can feel more like Russian roulette to people who fear for their lives every time they step out of their high-priced apartments:

Crime in Manhattan surged 23.5 percent in 2022 as robberies, rapes and felony assaults all climbed…

Grand larceny – or thefts of more than $1,000 – spiked by more than 60 percent in New York City this year.

Both New York and California have lost more than half a million people since 2020, the start of the pandemic. Ridiculous taxes, soft-on-crime policies, and draconian, ineffective COVID mandates paved the way for their decline.

We can hold out hope that someday, these two once-great states can recover, but in the meantime, the outlook caused by their progressive policies is bleak.


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