The Public Policy Institute

The Comeback Trail:1998


New York has changed — and that has paid off

Four years ago, New York State began to set a new course.

In 1994, legislators concerned about the state's economic decline convinced their colleagues to cut business taxes, after years of tax increases.

Just months later, voters elected a new Governor, who said that New York must change dramatically if we were to enjoy our share of the nation's economic growth.

Now, as another statewide election season approaches, how is New York State doing? What's happened to our economy? What does the state of our business climate suggest about our prospects for the future? And most important, what should state leaders do next, to bring the fullest measure of prosperity to New Yorkers?

A better business climate = more jobs

There is no question that our economy is stronger. Businesses have created more than 330,000 jobs statewide since January 1995.

The Empire State is a better place to do business than it was just a few years ago—there's no question about that, either. For five straight years now, state leaders have enacted major tax cuts. Employers' costs of creating and maintaining jobs—workers' compensation and unemployment insurance premiums, for example—have been reduced sharply. State government's overall attitude toward business, including its regulatory climate, is no longer reflexively hostile.

This doesn't mean our problems are solved, however—far from it. New York's growth, while much closer to that of competitor states, still trails the nation in almost every key sector. We won't meet our real potential unless we determine, now, to institutionalize dramatic change in New York State.

Among other things, that means:


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