NYER’S Record Tax

| Media Coverage

ALBANY – New figures reveal that the tax burden for New Yorkers has never been higher.

The combined federal, state and local tax bite on New York residents this year averages 37.1 percent of their income, according to the Manhattan Institute’s Empire Center for Public Policy.

The state’s burden is surpassed only by Connecticut, where taxes average 38.3 percent of income. The national average is 32.7 percent.

The Empire Center based its analysis on data provided by the Tax Foundation.

“It’s just another indication of how much work we have to do,” said Empire Center director E.J. McMahon.

He added it’s “absolutely one of the major reasons” New York’s population continues to decline as residents flee to other states to avoid high taxes. The highest previous combined tax burden in New York was 37 percent in 2000. And while last year it was 36.5 percent, it had never topped 35 percent as of a decade ago.

New York state and local taxes amount to 13.8 percent of total income with federal taxes totaling 23.3 percent of income, the analysis shows.

New York’s federal burden is a result of record real-estate and investment gains, a large concentration of corporations, and a large population of wealthy people, McMahon’s analysis shows.

Foundation spokesman Bill Ahearn said the situation in New York could get worse if Congress “makes the federal tax code more punitive for top income earners.”

This year’s overall figure is the highest in New York since the foundation began tracking it in 1970, but McMahon said, “it is probably safe to say that the 2007 figure represents an all-time high,” since the tax burdens before 1970 were much lower.

“It’s no surprise that taxes in New York are high,” said Brad Maione, spokesman for Gov. Spitzer. “We’re very aware of this issue and are working as hard as we can to provide tax relief.”

Spitzer pushed a three-year, $6 billion property-tax relief plan that was quietly reduced by $700 million during this year’s budget talks.

Read article here