After many years of lagging the nation economically, New York has experienced a less severe recession and a stronger recovery than most other states. Based on recent GDP expansion and increase in per-capita income, New York rose to tenth place in a recent U.S. Chamber ranking for growth, productivity and livability. A new state-sponsored campaign is promoting New York as “open for business.” However, other indicators suggest the Empire State is still hobbled by a heavy tax and regulatroy burden. How have business conditions in New York improved? What further changes are needed to set the stage for an era of sustained long-term economic growth in the Empire State?

Our event, “Is New York Competitive,” explored these and other important questions to assess New York’s outlook.

E.J. McMahon
Senior Fellow
Empire Center – Manhattan Institute

Jonathan Williams
Director, Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force
American Legislative Exchange Council
(Download the powerpoint presentation here)

David G. Tuerck
Executive Director
Beacon Hill Institute
(Download the powerpoint presentation here.)

Respondent Panel:
Heather Briccetti
The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

MIchael Durant
NYS Director
National Federation of Independent Business

Brian Sampson
Executive Director
Unshackle Upstate

Michael Stamm
NYS Economic Development Council

Question & Answer Session:


Part 1:

1. You all work to a degree with people who are starting businesses, relocating  businesses or making business investment decisions, so I’m curious to start with how much do the indexes of the type that you are seeing lists, comparisons, rankings, indexes and reports such as the one that Jonathan works on the competitiveness indexes and like the one David produces and Forbes list and magazine articles and etc.  How much do those types of things actually weigh and how heavily do you think they are weighed in business investment and location decisions in your experience?  00:00

2. David’s index starts with a bit of competitiveness and you explain your measures pretty well and your index shows that among other things that Massachusetts is very competitive and that New York is sort of competitive and what I want to ask you in terms of both those states is, because of the long term neither one of those states and I mean in the long term of 40 to 50 years are growing really particularly well. They are losing people and they are not adding jobs and that we, at least the last couple of years, have had a less than bad recession but they in the long term are not  high growth states, so how does being competitive in a sense like I think I understand you’re calling it, jive with not growing?  08:01

3. One thing nobody talked about is marginal tax rates by which we usually mean the personal income tax, some other studies have suggested including one David you may be familiar with, David Neumark and two other guys did at the University of CA suggested is that looking at all of these indexes and that an underweighted factor was corporate taxes and corporate taxes deserve more attention. I know it is something that Heather thinks about and deals about a lot at The Business Council and perhaps I’ll start with you Heather is how are we doing there and how important are corporate taxes which often seem to be forgotten in this discussion?  12:14

Part 2:

4. New York State, especially NYC, have an enormous concentration of higher ed and that didn’t happen yesterday, but had been there for a matter of decades and the SUNY system was built for better and or worse and not as a couple of concentrated enormous campuses, put a campus basically in every legislative district sometimes three, so there is not a corner of Upstate New York without a SUNY campus and a couple of private colleges hardly any, so there is lots of higher ed enrollment reached its post 1960 peak in the last decade and Upstate is while not a place of any economic activity in the way the English might sometimes suggest, it kind of has a general picture of stagnation so what gives and what’s happening? 1:20

5. What is the single most important thing that the State of New York can to do to improve its competitiveness, whether its on your rankings or not?  10:47

About the Author

Tim Hoefer

Tim Hoefer is president & CEO of the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Read more by Tim Hoefer

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