High taxes are the top reason New Yorkers are considering or making plans to move out of the state, according to a new Zogby poll issued last week.

Alarmingly, 39 percent of 1,000 survey respondents said they’re looking to leave the Empire State. The number one factor pushing them to do so is high taxes, which a plurality of more than one-third (36.7 percent) say is their top reason.

The results defy the notion, voiced by former Governor Cuomo among others, residents are leaving New York primarily due to the weather.

Only 7.7 percent of those interested in leaving blamed the weather.

Respondents who said they’re looking to leave the state were asked, “Which is the top reason you are considering or have made plans to leave New York state and reside somewhere else?”

The answers are shown below:

High taxes topped the list across key subgroups: Democrats, Republicans, liberals, moderates, conservatives, all income groups, all age cohorts beyond age 24, and all education levels except those without a high school diploma, according to response breakouts.

In other words, it’s not only high-income New Yorkers or those philosophically opposed to high levels of taxation that are looking to leave due to the tax burden.

None of this is surprising. By any measure, the tax burden New Yorkers bear is among the nation’s heaviest. And New York lost more than 1.5 million residents to net outmigration during the past decade, including more than 350,000 just during the 12 pandemic-plagued months leading up to July 1, 2021. This was part of a broader pattern, in which U.S. citizens flocked from high-tax states to low- and no-tax states during that time.

But those are correlations. The Zogby poll asks residents to weigh tax incentives against other potential factors. The responses yield a new data point indicating high taxes are the prime mover in the ongoing flight from New York.

What’s being done to stave off a tax-induced exodus? Precious little.

Despite historic surpluses, Governor Hochul’s executive budget fails to face up to the problem. It maintains the dramatic income tax hikes on top earners enacted last April. It offers little more than a cosmetic acceleration of already-enacted middle bracket tax reductions. And it proposes a property tax “rebate” that won’t incentivize homeowners to stay here because it doesn’t reduce property tax rates going forward.

With respect to property taxes, education groups are looking to take the state in the opposite direction by lobbying the Legislature to lift the statutory tax cap that’s saved New York homeowners billions in property taxes over the past decade.

Based on the Zogby poll, that’s a sure way to hasten the exodus from the Empire State.

Sponsored by Unite New York, the poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points.

About the Author

Peter Warren

Peter Warren is the Director of Research at the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Read more by Peter Warren

You may also like

The state puts a pricey condition on its approval of a heart transplant center

In a provocative flex of executive power, the state Health Department is requiring a hospital system to spend $50 million on health care in Brooklyn and Queens if it wants to open an $8.4 million heart transplant center in Manhattan. Read More

State Budget Back in the Red

Historically large budgetary surpluses inherited by Governor Hochul are now just a memory with New York facing projected gaps of $13.7 Billion Read More

New York’s health insurance affordability problem gets worse

New York's health insurance affordability gap surged to a new high last year, with state residents paying an average of 16 percent more. Read More

As the session winds down, watch for health costs to go up

The closing days of the legislative session could prove costly for New York health insurance consumers as lawmakers push a raft of proposals that would make coverage more expensive, harder to find, or both. Read More

Voters Reject a Pair of Tax Cap-Breaching School Budgets

New York school districts whose budgets were defeated yesterday can hold a re-vote in June on the same proposal or a modified one Read More

NYC’s out-migration fueled NY state’s record population drop in 2020-21

A huge outflow of residents from New York City accounted for nearly all of New York State's record single-year population loss following the Covid-19 outbreak Read More

State Spending Ante Upped by ‘One House’ Budgets

State spending will rise next year billions beyond what Governor Hochul proposed in her January budget, if the Senate and Assembly have their way. Read More

The State of the State Spending Spree

The State of the State is the prelude to Hochul’s state budget reveal. It’s a budget that represents a generational opportunity. Read More


Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.


Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

Press Inquiries: Press@EmpireCenter.org


The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!