The Empire Center today released its annual “Benchmarking New York” report, comparing and ranking government tax, spending and debt levels for hundreds of counties, towns, cities and villages throughout New York.
The Center also updated its unique Benchmarking New York web app, which lets users compare detailed rankings of major fiscal indicators for any municipality alone, or for up to four localities at a time. The online database—the most extensive comparable local database of its kind in New York—also includes statewide and regional rankings of each municipality by type in dozens of revenue and spending categories.
“By breaking down local spending across more than 100 categories, Benchmarking New York allows taxpayers to make apples-to-apples comparisons across the state,” said executive director Tim Hoefer. “This is a powerful tool that can empower New Yorkers to examine how each layer of local government is collecting and spending their tax dollars.”
The tool uses statistics gathered annually by the Office of the State Comptroller and Empire Center calculations to provide taxpayers with benchmarks that allow comparisons between local governments using more than 100 criteria. The categories range from state aid and tax receipts to public safety spending and sanitation costs. The per-capita data, from each local government’s 2017 fiscal year, show:
- Among the five largest cities outside New York City, Rochester had the highest spending ($3,119), Albany had the highest effective property tax rate (1.19 percent) and Yonkers had the most debt ($2,871) and collected the most taxes per capita ($1,605).
- Nassau County had the highest debt among counties, owing $3,010 per resident.
- White Plains charged the most fines among cities, collecting $144 per resident, nearly 50 percent greater than the next highest, Yonkers, which collected $97.
A small number of local governments are not included because they failed to report data to the state comptroller’s office.
SeeThroughNY also hosts a property tax calculator, which allows users to calculate the “all-in” property tax bill in any New York locality outside New York City and Nassau County and compare property tax burdens across multiple localities.
The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.