April 8, 2004
Another study, another measure, same result: New York's tax burden is nation's highest
New York State continues to suffer from the highest state and local tax burden in the nation, according to a new report from the Tax Foundation. The new analysis echoes earlier research by The Business Council's research affiliate, The Public Policy Institute, and many others.
For the 14th consecutive year, New York's state and local tax burden, when measured as a percentage of income, stands at 12.9 percent-highest in the nation and "well above the national average of 10 percent," the report said.
The report, which measured state and local tax burdens in all 50 states, also found that when federal income taxes are added to the equation, the state's tax burden jumps to 32.5 percent of income, 17 percent higher than the national average of 27.8 percent of income.
Maine (12.3 percent), Ohio (11.3 percent), Hawaii (11.3 percent), and Rhode Island (11.5 percent) followed New York to round out the top five, the report said.
The report also found that New York's tax burden as a percent of income is 48 percent and 39 percent higher than the two largest states, Texas and California, respectively.
New York's closest neighbors and competitors also fared much better. New Jersey's tax burden is nearly 3 full points below New York's at 10.1 percent. Pennsylvania and Massachusetts both have a 9.4 percent burden, the report showed.
Alaska was the most tax-friendly state, with the average taxpayer giving only 6.3 percent of his total income to state and local taxes.
The new report is in line with other reports using other measures that consistently show that New York's tax burdens are among the nation's highest, that this has negative economic consequences, and that New Yorkers want lower taxes:
- Tax Watch '04, a series of research reports published by The Public Policy Institute in December 2003, showed that New York's combined state and local tax burden, adjusted for personal income, is the highest in the nationand "far higher than those in the locations that compete most directly with us for business and jobs." Tax Watch '04 estimated that New York's tax burden is 48 percent higher than the national average.
- At a December forum on New York's state budget problems sponsored by The Public Policy Institute, Charles Brecher of the Citizens' Budget Commission (CBC) reported that New York's s local taxes are 71 percent above the average in those states. For more information and statistics on New York's taxes and spending from that symposium.
- A December study by the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce showed that upstate New York is home to the four highest city property-tax burdens in the nation. The chamber studied 2001 Census Bureau data to rank metropolitan property tax burdens in the top 100 metropolitan areas in the country. The study found that taxpayers in Syracuse, Buffalo/Niagara Falls, Rochester, and the Capital District of New York State endure the nation's highest property tax burdens.
- A March analysis by The Institute showed that the state is losing ground to the nation in population growth in several critical age ranges. The Institute compared Census Bureau data from April 2000 and Census Bureau population estimates from July 2003. New York's population in that time span grew 1.1 percent, only the 44th-fastest growth rate in the nation and well behind the national average growth rate of 3.3 percent. Nevada is the fastest-growing state, at 12.2 percent.
- Independent polls consistently show that New Yorkers continue to prefer reduced government spending to higher taxes. A 2003 Quinnipiac University opinion poll found that most New Yorkers prefer cuts in government programs, rather than tax hikes, to close budget gaps. Upstate residents, in particular, supported lower government spending. These poll results are virtually identical to a similar Quinnipiac University poll from December 2002. A Marist College poll earlier in 2003 found similar results, with respondents choosing cutting state jobs or cutting services rather than raising taxes, the report said. And even when given a choice of "tax increases with spending cuts," or "spending cuts only," voters tend to choose the latter, a Syracuse Post-Standard survey found.