New York’s overall tax burden is the heaviest in the nation – a staggering $5,770 average for every man, woman and child, a new study found.
Per-capita state and local taxes are 36 percent higher in New York compared with the national average of $3,699 and 7 percent higher than the next most heavily taxed state, Connecticut.
The rankings, based on Census data for the 2004-05 fiscal year, were compiled by the Business Council of New York State’s Public Policy Institute, which found that New York’s tax burden grew by 9.9 percent over the prior year.
“This is the Empire State, but we’ve been losing jobs and losing business and losing population while our tax burden has been one of the highest for years and years,” said Matthew Maguire, a spokesman for the Business Council.
Tax statistics for the 2004-05 fiscal year are the latest available.
New York’s status at the top of the tax heap is a perennial problem, but the state and local governments, including New York City, have been slow to reduce the voracious rate of growth in public spending, fiscal watchdogs said.
“I think by this measure, we’ve been No. 1 forever,” E.J. McMahon, of the Manhattan Institute, said of the per-capita tax burden. “We may look worse by this measure, but we look bad by every measure.”
McMahon blamed New York’s astronomical Medicaid costs, school spending well above the national average, growing public debt and a government work force larger and better paid than other states.
Over the past 35 years, there were only two substantive attempts to slow the escalating tax rate, McMahon said, referring to the fiscal crisis of the 1970s and to several years during the 1990s when Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Rudy Giuliani cut taxes.
The analysis also found that New York had the fourth highest property tax in 2004-05, was third in debt and second in state and local spending at $11,841 per person.
New Jersey ranked first in property-tax burden, while Alabama and Mississippi were tied for the lowest per-capita taxes at $2,564.
Both Gov. Spitzer and Mayor Bloomberg said they are taking steps to address the tax burden.
“The governor is seriously aware that these issues are out there and we’re working as hard as we can to turn things around,” said Spitzer spokesman Brad Maione.
Bloomberg’s spokesman, John Gallagher, said the current budget proposal “has included $1 billion in tax cuts for homeowners, small businesses and everyone who shops in New York.”
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