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GOP proposes population loss study

Gov. Kathy Hochul puts at least some of the blame on New York’s population loss on a lack of housing.

Hochul’s State of the State reiterates the governor’s plan to push for new housing development in the coming year after her plans were stymied by state legislators in 2023. In 2023, more than 101,000 people left New York state, the third consecutive year with such a sizable loss of population, according to U.S. Census data. In April 2020, there were more than 20.2 million New Yorkers, that fell to 19.5 million people as of July 2023, a decline of over 631,000 people since the pandemic.

“Now let’s get to the most important issue when it comes to affordability: The obscenely high costs of rents and mortgages caused by the unconscionable shortage of housing in New York. It’s one of the forces driving people out of our state. And out-migration is a problem we need to talk about,” Hochul said during Tuesday’s address. “For 50 years, we’ve been hemorrhaging families who can no longer afford to raise their children in the same communities where they were born. This decline shows no sign of stopping. People aren’t moving for warmer weather or lower taxes. They’re moving next door.”

Republicans in the state Senate want to commission a more in-depth look at the reasons people are leaving New York state. State Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, is among the Republican co-sponsors of legislation (S.8103) to establish a commission on outmigration that examines why the state is losing population and that offers recommendations to reverse the state’s population trends. The bill is sponsored by Sen. James Tedisco, R-Clifton Park.

“This measure would create the Commission on New York State Outmigration to conduct a year-long research and fact-finding campaign by holding public hearings and interacting with New Yorkers from all walks of life and all corners of the state, and ultimately provide a tangible report to assist the State Legislature in reversing this trend,” Tedisco wrote in his legislative justification.

The commission would be largely appointed by Democrats, with three members appointed by the governor, three by the Assembly Speaker, three appointed by the president of the Senate and two each appointed by the Senate and Assembly minority leaders. Each Regional Economic Development Council would be represented.

As proposed the commission would study housing, but Tedisco also wants the commission to study affordability, public safety, education and economic opportunity while holding at least one public hearing in each Economic Development Council region.

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