In reaction to the recent data showing more people are leaving Suffolk County, John M. Kennedy said Steve Bellone’s poor financial management — implementing new taxes, fees and surcharges, reckless spending and borrowing and accumulating debt — is part of the reason for this exodus.
Last month, Mr. Bellone delivered his “State of the County” address and tried to convince everyone that the county is doing great. However, Dean Murray, Mr. Kennedy’s campaign manager, asks, “If everything is so wonderful, why is everyone fleeing Suffolk County? Although, I guess it’s possible that not everyone actually left the County … some may have simply disappeared into one of the thousands of massive potholes that Mr. Bellone refuses to fill.”
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that an estimated 1,481,093 people lived in Suffolk County last year. That is 2,478 fewer than the number of people who resided in the county the previous year and marks five straight years of losses. Since 2014, 16,396 people have fled the county, according to Census.
Thanks to the high cost of living, more Millennials are looking to move off Long Island. A recent survey by nextLI found that two-thirds of those 18 to 34 years old plan to move off Long Island because they cannot afford to live here. According to the Federal Reserve, the average amount of student loan debt for a young Long Islander is $32,400, which is higher than the state average ($31,600) and the national average ($29,900). This makes homeownership difficult for Millennials, as the average home price in Suffolk is $380,000, a 5.6% increase compared to last year. Currently, only 20% of Millennials own a home.
“It is no surprise that the younger generation is looking to move off Long Island, especially Suffolk County,” said Mr. Murray. “Everything is so expensive in Suffolk County, not only because of the fees, taxes and surcharges, but also because of Mr. Bellone’s overreliance on borrowing and the seven bond rating downgrades under his watch. Four more years of #JunkBondBellone will mean that our children’s, children’s children and their grandchildren will be paying this debt off. Unless we change our ways, and, most importantly, change the County’s leadership, the future will continue to look bleak.”