2011-01-07 / Letters

Seats Matter

Dear Editor,

For many years the tri-state area and the northeast more generally have seen lower population growth ultimately resulting in fewer House seats in Congress being allocated to the region every 10 years. With the Census numbers released yesterday the relative influence of the Northeast both in Congress and in the Electoral College will be further diminished.

This can matter greatly in close Congressional votes and also in close presidential contests because the states gaining strength all tend to tilt Republican at the national level. Under the new Census numbers, in which many self-styled progressive states are losing Electoral College votes the impact of this shift could prove particularly stark.

Half a century ago

New York had 45

House seats. Now we will have only 27 — the same number as Florida. The last time New York had so few House seats was actually 200 years ago!

Half a century ago Florida had only eight House seats. While there are lots of reasons folks may migrate to sunny Florida bolstering its population growth some have observed that government policy has been a critical factor in their population expansion and our population decline.

Economic development organization and Business groups like New Yorker’s For Growth have highlighted that New York’s high taxes and onerous business regulations have caused both employers and people to seek greener pastures for decades. The more business-friendly environment and absence of a state sales tax have fueled growth in states like Florida and Texas. Because of the public policy decisions these two states have made on a state level they will now gain six House seats.

In fact states that do not impose an income tax generally grew faster than the national average in the past decade and therefore these are the states that will have more federal representation.

In short the observation that failure of State legislatures in the Northeast to control spending and the drive to increase taxes, fees and regulations on the middle class and small businesses hasn’t just harmed job creation and our economy. Public policy preferences that have driven away friends and neighbors and opportunity will ultimately continue to diminish our state’s and our region’s political clout on a National level.

It has never been clearer that enactment of pro-growth, pro-small business policies are critical to the future of our state and to our children’s futures.


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