America’s once-great cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco have fallen into decay and decline. Residents who can are fleeing and those who can’t are fearful. Can these cities be saved? At The New York Sun, Betsy McCaughey offers New York a customized plan for revival, writing:
Here’s a four-point agenda to turn New York around:
No. 1: Deter freeloading migrants from coming to New York. Mr. Adams has warned that the huge and continuing influx of migrants seeking shelter and services will “destroy” the city. City services for New Yorkers are being cut, including even fire protection and sanitation, to meet the expense.
That’s unacceptable. The city’s “right-to-shelter” legal obligation is a magnet. New York is the only city legally compelled to house all comers. That obligation originated more than 40 years ago, in a 1981 agreement between the city and homelessness advocates. All elected officials should back Mr. Adams in a legal fight to get it overturned. The city will continue to take care of its own, but not an unlimited number of newcomers.
In the meantime, future migrants should be housed in tents or barracks, not upscale hotel rooms many tourists can’t afford.
No. 2: Stop the city from descending into lawlessness. Shoplifting and subway crime are the major problems, not murders and rapes.
Shoplifting at NYC has surged 64 percent in the last four years, more than in any other city. In 2019, the New York state legislature changed the law, ensuring that even repeat shoplifters would never be incarcerated. In 2022, newly elected District Attorney Alvin Bragg vowed not to prosecute them. Yet the city’s law enforcement brass must figure out ways to make shoppers feel safer.
The subways are twice as dangerous as they were in 2019 on a per-rider basis, according to Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute. Mentally ill homeless people terrorize riders without being removed and then ultimately push someone onto the tracks or commit another serious crime. Social service teams and police must coordinate to remove these mentally ill homeless people and get them into treatment.
Improving public safety will help New York rebound. Foot traffic in the city’s business districts is down 33 percent from pre-lockdown levels. Office vacancies are 18 percent, the highest since the early 1990s.
The Big Apple ranks behind 18 other U.S. cities, including quiet Boston and remote Boise, Idaho, in future economic and real estate growth. Only Chicago, Detroit, and San Francisco do worse.
No. 3: Cut taxes. New Yorkers pay the highest combined state and local tax burden in the nation. Businesses here are also getting taxed to death. A whopping 158 Wall Street firms have moved their headquarters since the end of 2019, fed up with crime and high taxes.
Hotels here are losing business because a 5.875 percent occupancy tax and stiff property taxes make rooms here more expensive than in other cities. New York can’t tax its way out of decline. It must cut taxes to rebound.
No. 4: Protect New York’s Jews. New York is home to 1.6 million adherents — the largest Jewish community of any city in the world. Attacks at The Cooper Union, on the Brooklyn Bridge, and elsewhere make Jews wonder if they will be safe here. Police and prosecutors alike must act decisively to deter more attacks.
Read more here.
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