In recent years, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has gotten praise for just about everything, from a (somewhat) on-time opening of the Second Avenue Subway, to putting a hold on the state's notoriously high taxes (the rate of increases have gone down in recent years, and for the first time, subway fares did not increase by much, and the recent fare increase applied to passes and not pay-per-rides). Part of the reason the budget is late is because of an initiative to raise the age where a youth can be tried as an adult. The impression I have received is that New York has a stricter law than the national average. (It also doesn't help that Cuomo wants to be President. After Trump, I hope the world ends before we have another New Yorker as President. I could write for hours about how New Yorkers, because of our temperaments, are ill-suited for the nation's highest office.)
However, the mood in New York is still poisonous. While other states have healthy population increases, New York's demographics are if anything absolutely depressing. While New York ranks high on quality of life issues (three upstate cities were ranked in 2016 as being great places to live), it's by no means a level playing field. Jefferson County (home of Fort Drum) had one of the worst population drops of any county in the nation in 2016. In fact, New York's population is still dwindling, unlike Florida and California, which see influxes of new housing and new jobs. The Census Bureau's stats are simply frightening for New York and the Rust Belt as a whole.
This doesn't have to be the case. If New York simply stops operating like New York, the benefits residents enjoy would become more attractive to businesses and residents who reside in other states. New York's economic policies are a complete fiasco and are if anything obsolete. Most of Upstate New York's major metropolitan areas are suffering from poor growth and I blame poor policy. No, I am NOT saying that New York should throw away its environmental and labor policies, but figure out where New York is the exception to the rule and change the laws to reflect what other states have on their books.
On the state's website, there is a quiz on property taxes and I practically flunked it. But the answers bring up some disturbing facts: the state has (in some cases) duplicate governments and some ones that are utterly obsolete. While the tide is slowly starting to turn (the superintendent of the school district where I graduated high school from does double duty as the "shared superintendent" of another district), the system still has its limitations. The saddest and most frustrating fact of all is that New York's flaws also make the state beautiful: it's school districts have a flair that is uniquely New York, with a local control that is not seen in other states. I read somewhere a few years ago that New Yorkers have more local control over their school districts than in any other state in the nation.
I hope that in the coming years that the state legislature takes up the initiative of getting the state's regulatory and local governments in order. New York State needs to stop the bleeding to Sun Belt states.
*To add to the irony of the budget, I was supposed to have this due yesterday! I'll make up for it, however.