Based on per-capita federal data, USA Today reports that “New Yorkers get more government aid per person from social programs than residents of any other state.”   The Empire State’s Medicaid spending per-person alone is more than double the average, but we’re also high in other categories of social assistance.

No real surprises here, although the story does feature this interesting twist on an old excuse:

“New York has a social tradition, an ethic, if you will, of providing services to the entire population with a special welcoming attention to those at the bottom,” says James Tallon, a former legislative leader who heads the United Hospital Fund, a research group.

New York has unique challenges — a large number of poor people, often immigrants, and a high-cost of providing health care in New York City, he says.

Of course, California, Florida and Texas also have large numbers of poor people and poor immigrants, but social spending per person in all three states is much lower.  They must lack our welcoming sense of tradition and ethics.

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E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

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