News recently broke that Tyreek Hill almost became a New York Jet. But at the last minute, he took his talents to South Beach as a Miami Dolphin.
Mocking the Jets is always easy, but this one’s not their fault. Hill says he had to make a “grown-up decision”: “It was very close to happening. Just those state taxes, man.”
As The Post reported, “Florida has no state income taxes. New Jersey has a marginal income tax of 10.75% for individuals making more than $5 million per year. Hill is slated to make $30 million per year on his contract, and his state income taxes if he played for the Jets would total about $3 million per year.”
If the wide receiver chose to live in New York, he’d pay about the same in taxes: 10.30% at his level with a supplemental tax because he makes more than $107,650. And that’s before even getting into New York City taxes.
For a long time, states like New York and New Jersey could get away with these high taxation rates. But with so much in decline, from public safety to schools, the numbers just don’t make sense anymore. Why would a professional athlete lose more than 10% of his pay to live in a state with plunging standards?
In 2019, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said, “If taxes are your issue, then New Jersey’s probably not your state.” The line was used in a popular political ad by his Republican opponent Jack Ciattarelli in 2021. Ciattarelli lost by fewer than 100,000 votes, in a deep-blue state of nearly 9 million people. Taxes, it seems, are an issue for many.
New York’s governor, meanwhile, has noticed the migration out of her state to Florida and has decided to lean into it. Talking about Republicans, Gov. Kathy Hochul said, “Just jump on a bus and head down to Florida where you belong, OK? Get out of town. Because you do not represent our values. You are not New Yorkers.”
States like New York and New Jersey have to decide how much they’re willing to lose while their terrible politicians push people out the door — and what it means to them.
These states forfeit more than just a winning season for their football team.
If high taxes are pushing out multimillionaires, what’s happening with people with far fewer resources? People who may have been committed to their home state but found that paying astronomical rates for very little in return has stopped making sense.
If an NFL franchise is having trouble attracting players, what’s happening with regular, old companies, which produce so much of a state’s revenue, in their quest to find the best people? A few months ago, the financial firm Citadel bolted from Chicago because it was having trouble attracting talent to the city. Yes, it left for Florida too. How many New York and New Jersey firms are planning their exits for the same reasons?
These states lose people invested in the communities with the means to really make a difference. Citadel’s CEO Ken Griffin paid more than $200 million in Illinois taxes every year and was the biggest philanthropist in the state. Gov. J. B. Pritzker shrugged off Griffin’s exit. It will be far harder for the state of Illinois to do the same.
But it’s not just the money. Tyreek Hill, for example, is involved in a variety of causes. His Tyreek Hill Family Foundation supports at-risk youth through scholarships and free football camps. Hill has joined with the NFL in south Florida to run a flag-football league for smaller kids.
You don’t have to love Hill the man to know New York and New Jersey could have benefited from all that.
As a lifelong New Yorker, I also used to say “Good riddance” when people would move out. It was New York or nowhere. But so much has shifted over the last few years. Like Hill, I had to make a “grown-up decision” for my family, and, like Hill, I’m a Floridian now. My son is planning to play in Hill’s league.
States should care a lot when they squander a Tyreek Hill. Blue-state politicians keep ignoring what their states are losing. Perhaps Jets fans should remind them.