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For Release — Monday, September 10, 2001

CENSUS BUREAU RELEASES NEW DATA ON STATE AND LOCAL TAXES

ALBANY—The U.S. Census Bureau released today data on state and local governments' finances for fiscal 1999, with the most commonly used comparative data showing New York's "tax gap" with other states essentially unchanged from the previous year.

Combined state and local taxes in New York totaled $4,515 per person in 1999, according to the new Census data. That was 50.9 percent above the average for all states, and - as was the case in 1998 - second in the nation, behind Connecticut.

The Census Bureau is the authoritative source of financial data on all 50 state and local governments. The Public Policy Institute, The Business Council's research affiliate, analyzed Census data to compare taxes and spending in New York with those in other states.

For most of the 1980s and 1990s, New York's "tax gap" - the extra cost of state and local taxes in the Empire State, compared to the average of all states - ranged from 55 percent to 67 percent. From 1995 through 1998, it declined each year. The 1999 figure released today is one-tenth of a percentage point higher than the 1998 figure, 50.8 percent.

Robert B. Ward, director of research for The Public Policy Institute, cautioned that the per-capita tax figures probably overstate New York's tax burden in the late 1990s. The 2000 population census showed the number of New York State residents significantly higher than the Census Bureau had previously estimated. The per-capita tax figures for 1999 and most other years rely on the Census Bureau's earlier estimates of population. If the population estimate for any given year is lower than the actual population, the actual per-capita tax burden would be lower than the reported figure.

The Census Bureau released its 1998 tallies of state and local taxes earlier this summer. Generally, the agency issues such reports once every year or so. Over the past year, the bureau has increased the frequency of its reports on taxes, making them more timely.

Using another common measure of comparative tax burdens that relates total tax collections to personal income, New York's state and local governments collected $140 in taxes for every $1,000 in personal income in 1999. That figure was down from $142 a year earlier. By this measure, the combined tax burden in New York was the highest in the nation in 1999, and 27.6 percent above the national average.

New York is one of only two states where local taxes total more than those collected at the state level. In 1999, local taxes added up to $2,388 for every resident in New York, while taxes imposed directly by Albany averaged $2,127 per capita.

"New York is more competitive for business and jobs today because Governor Pataki and the Legislature have cut taxes," said Daniel B. Walsh, president of The Business Council and CEO of the Public Policy Institute. "But there is more to do."

Government spending in New York is significantly higher than in most other states, the Institute's analysis found. Overall state and local spending totaled $8,844 per person, 48 percent higher than the national average. In the two largest spending areas, New York's social-services expenditures were 74 percent higher, and education spending was 17 percent higher, than the per-capita average nationally.

The Institute's analysis of the new Census data also showed:

State and Local Taxes Per Capita, 1999
Rank State Amt. Rank State Amt.
1 Connecticut $4,536 27 Iowa $2,674
2 NEW YORK $4,515 28 Florida 2,663
3 New Jersey 3,878 29 North Carolina 2,649
4 Massachusetts 3,606 30 North Dakota 2,631
5 Minnesota 3,599 31 Indiana 2,621
6 Wisconsin 3,318 32 New Hampshire 2,590
7 Hawaii 3,303 33 Oregon 2,574
8 Delaware 3,278 34 New Mexico 2,568
9 Maine 3,258 35 Utah 2,568
10 Rhode Island 3,226 36 Missouri 2,565
11 Maryland 3,202 37 Arizona 2,561
12 California 3,167 38 Kentucky 2,464
13 Washington 3,148 39 Texas 2,456
14 Illinois 3,131 40 Idaho 2,428
15 Michigan 3,032 41 Louisiana 2,409
16 Vermont 3,004 42 Arkansas 2,382
17 Colorado 2,987 43 West Virginia 2,368
18 Pennsylvania 2,934 44 South Carolina 2,333
19 Nevada 2,925 45 Oklahoma 2,313
20 Ohio 2,869 46 Montana 2,312
21 Virginia 2,846 47 South Dakota 2,255
22 Alaska 2,841 48 Mississippi 2,198
23 Wyoming 2,827 49 Tennessee 2,142
24 Nebraska 2,775 50 Alabama 2,007
25 Georgia 2,761 US average $2,992
26 Kansas 2,748 N.Y.S. % above avg. 50.9%
Source: Public Policy Institute calculations from US Census Bureau data
State and Local Taxes Per $1,000 Personal Income, 1999
Rank State Amt. Rank State Amt.
1 NEW YORK $140 27 Louisiana $108
2 Maine 139 28 Iowa 108
3 Wisconsin 127 29 Georgia 108
4 Minnesota 123 30 Nebraska 108
5 Hawaii 123 31 Kansas 108
6 Vermont 122 32 Pennsylvania 107
7 New Mexico 122 33 North Carolina 106
8 Connecticut 121 34 Illinois 105
9 Utah 117 35 Oklahoma 105
10 West Virginia 117 36 South Carolina 105
11 Rhode Island 116 37 Indiana 105
12 North Dakota 115 38 Maryland 105
13 New Jersey 114 39 Alaska 103
14 Michigan 114 40 Colorado 102
15 California 114 41 Nevada 102
16 Wyoming 113 42 Virginia 102
17 Idaho 113 43 Missouri 102
18 Arkansas 113 44 Florida 100
19 Delaware 112 45 Oregon 100
20 Washington 111 46 Texas 97
21 Kentucky 111 47 South Dakota 95
22 Mississippi 111 48 Alabama 91
23 Ohio 110 49 New Hampshire 88
24 Montana 109 50 Tennessee 88
25 Arizona 109
US average
$110
26 Massachusetts 109
N.Y.S. % above avg.
27.6%
Source: Public Policy Institute calculations from US Census Bureau data
Figures rounded to nearest dollar