Recent Findings Still Rank NY Among Highest in Tax Collections

A legislative Column by Assemblyman Will Barclay
Recent findings by the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based research organization, should serve as a reminder to the State Legislature and the Governor during this year’s budget negotiations that New York needs to decrease spending, reduce state mandates, and cut property and income taxes.

According to the study, “Facts and Figures 2015: How Does Your State Compare,” New York ranked number one in state and local tax burdens, surpassing New Jersey and Connecticut.

New York had the fourth highest property tax collections per capita, with an average of $2,435 collected per person in 2012, the latest data available.

While income tax rates vary between states and within New York’s structure, our overall individual income tax collections in 2012 were $2,051 per capita, the 2nd highest in the country.

These are the reasons it took New Yorkers until May 4 in 2014 to earn enough income to pay off their total tax bill for the year.

This date, known as Tax Freedom Day, gets later each year.  In 2010, Tax Freedom day for New Yorkers was April 23. Based on 2014 figures, we also rank 49th in the State Business Tax Climate.

These figures continue to be concerning and serve as a guide for me in the Assembly.

The number one thing I hear from constituents is that taxes are too high.

The Governor has placed blame on localities.  For the most part, I disagree.  Many state mandates like Medicaid and those that apply to education play a large part in the local property tax bill.

People’s tax bills do not lie and many residents are showing their sentiments with their feet.

Data shows there has been a recent uptick in retirees moving from New York to other states, particularly Florida.

After a winter like this last one with record-cold temperatures, it is easy to imagine why, but data suggests that there are more factors than just weather, factors like lower income and property taxes in other states that are an incentive.

According to the Empire Center for Public Policy, and data from the U.S. Census Bureau, our “domestic migration” loss was 462,172 people since 2010, and 2 million residents since 2000.

A survey by the New York chapter of AARP estimates that 60 percent of the state’s Baby Boomers expecting to retire in the coming years have plans to move from the state, which would also translate into a loss of more than $105 billion in income annually.

Jobs are another determining factor.

If the younger generation finds work in other states, it leaves the older generation with fewer reasons to stay in New York.

Amid this reality, the Assembly Democratic Majority, in their one-house budget bill, advanced more plans for spending, increase mandates, and even set forth a proposal for raising the minimum wage to $15 for businesses, an enormous mandate businesses would have to comply with if this passes.

I disagree with this tax and spend approach and, instead, I will continue to fight against unfunded mandates for localities and over-regulation of businesses and press for reducing taxes.

I will also continue to fight for our share of funding for schools and for local infrastructure so localities and school districts can keep costs down as well.

I’d like to hear your thoughts and ideas.  Constituent input can assist in my fight to make New York more affordable and friendlier to businesses, and a place where people wish to stay.

I want New York to be a place where my sons who are growing up will like to remain.

How about you?

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.

My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.