Last week it was announced that New York had officially fallen from being the third most populous state to the fourth.
Who took over the third spot and sent New York packing? Florida of course.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida now has 19.9 million residents versus New York’s 19.7 million.
On the surface this might not seem like such a big deal. However, we must realize that fewer residents equals fewer tax dollars. Population also effects things like federal funding that is used to help support myriad projects and programs. The East End is not insulated from these potential detriments.
But let’s put these issues aside for a minute and look at it in the purest sense—do we really want to be known as having been beat by Florida? What does it say when people no longer want to move to New York and experience its amazing offerings and opportunities. And we also can’t ignore the fact that this trend of minimal growth continues, the Yankees, Mets, Jets and Giants might one day decide to relocate to a more populous state.
In consideration of this, coupled with my love of New York, I have just returned from a weeklong observation visit to Florida. I believe the information I have gained can be used to turn the corner and return us back to number 3. My hope is that the East End can start the trend and other New York regions will follow suit.
One of the main things I noticed that makes Florida so attractive to the masses is the fact that restaurants there primarily start serving dinner at 3 p.m. Accordingly, our restaurants need to start serving dinner hours earlier—it’s what the people want.
I also observed that many people drive slower in Florida. If we can reduce our speed limits by 10-15 mph on each and every street, we might just gain some ground.
We also need to create more senior centers. There should be one center for every 1,000 people.
And it doesn’t stop with these simple changes. We also need many more handicapped parking spots, shuffle-board courts in every park and a significant increase in the number of park benches.
Last but not least, like Florida, we need to abolish the state income tax.
Let’s start working now to restore New York back to number 3 before we officially become passé.