Rep. Thomas Suozzi’s message to the (likely) soon-to-be departing financial firm Goldman Sachs had the sound of an 80s love ballad: don’t go, baby.
“Please don’t leave us,” the New York congressman said on CNBC following news that the multibillion-dollar investment bank is likely to bolt New York City for Florida. “We’re in a desperate time in New York right now. We need you. You’re important to us. We want you to stay.”
There’s no question that New York’s situation is desperate. The state was facing a $13 billion budget deficit and an exodus of people before the coronavirus arrived. The pandemic, and the draconian and bungled response to it from lawmakers, has only made the situation worse.
The 36,000 New Yorkers who died with or of the coronavirus is a higher death toll than 95 percent of the countries in the world, in large part because of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order that forced nursing homes to admit discharged COVID-19 patients. Meanwhile, government efforts to slow the spread of the virus have ravaged the state’s economy.
New York’s unemployment rate stands at 9.6 percent, higher than all but two US states, and its aggressive enforcement of lockdowns has devastated commerce. The New York Times recently estimated that one-third of small businesses in the state may be gone forever. Many of the perks of being in New York have vanished, which has hastened the exodus from the Big Apple and resulted in a drain on the greatest of all resources: people.
Related: Tom Wolfe once posited that there were many CEOs “who kept their headquarters in New York long after the last rational reason for doing so had vanished . . . because of the ineffable experience of being a CEO and having lunch five days a week in [fancy expense account restaurants] in Manhattan!” So it’s no surprise that, among the myriad other reasons to flee New York, Andrew Cuomo’s war on restaurants is also helping to accelerate the business exodus.