After months of experts predicting that the federal tax overhaul in December 2017 would induce the wealthiest New Yorkers to leave for cheaper states, the early days of summer are offering some clues about what will actually happen.

The tax debate returned to the forefront of the news earlier last week, when President Donald Trump started a Twitter battle with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, arguing that “it is very hard and expensive to live in New York” because of the state’s “ridiculously high taxes.” Cuomo countered that he had in fact lowered taxes, and although he previously acknowledged that the levies are a burden, he asserted that changes in federal tax law limiting deductions of state and local tax payments on federal returns risked sparking an “economic civil war.”

E.J. McMahon, research director at the Empire Center for Public Policy, had presented estimates to the joint legislative fiscal committees earlier this year on the potential consequences of departures. He predicted that if the state lost 10% of residents with median adjusted gross income of more than $10 million, New York would lose $265 million in tax revenue, more than the entire state-funded budget for the Department of Environmental Conservation. (The total state budget is $175 billion.)

But even though the wealthy don’t like to pay New York taxes, that’s not stopping them from moving here and generating more money for the state. Late last month both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving signed with the Brooklyn Nets—a hopeful sign for economic observers who recognize the players had the option to head to states with much lower tax rates.

For now New Yorkers are waiting for more definitive figures about whether rising taxes have motivated wealthy New Yorkers to flee. “I don’t have any real evidence of that kind of flight,” Comptroller Scott Stringer said at a recent Citizens Budget Committee breakfast. “I’m not saying it’s not happening. But we don’t have it yet.”

© 2019 Crains New York Business

You may also like

The good, the bad and the ugly in Cuomo’s budget

“We are at the early stages of what shapes up as the biggest state and city fiscal crisis since the Great Depression,” said E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center. “Borrowing and short-term cuts aside, the budget doesn’t chart any clear path out of it.” Read More

Medicaid cuts make the state budget, with some tweaks

Bill Hammond, director of health policy at the conservative-leaning think tank the Empire Center, suggested this is because the proposed cuts are meant to slow the otherwise rapid growth in Medicaid spending, which means an increase is still possible.  Read More

Editorial: Cuomo’s problematic Medicaid maneuvers

“It’s everything that’s wrong with Albany in one ugly deal,” Bill Hammond, a health policy expert at the fiscally conservative Empire Center, told The Times. Read More

Gov. Cuomo’s Lawsuit on Pres. Trump’s Tax Cuts Dismissed

But according to the Empire Center, a non-profit group based in Albany, the overall impact of the Trump tax cuts actually benefited most state residents. Read More

NYS Healthcare Costs Rise Amid Report Of Pay-To-Play Allegations

Earlier this year, another fiscal watchdog group,  The Empire Center, found that  Cuomo’s budget office had delayed a $1.7 billion Medicaid payment from the previous fiscal year into the current fiscal year. Because of the delay, the governor was able to keep within a self imposed 2% yearly spending cap. Read More

After Hospitals’ Donation to New York Democrats, a $140 Million Payout

“It’s everything that’s wrong with Albany in one ugly deal,” said Bill Hammond, a health policy expert at the nonpartisan Empire Center who first noticed the budgetary trick. “The governor was able to unilaterally direct a billion dollars to a major interest group while secretly accepting its campaign cash and papering over a massive deficit in the Medicaid program.” Read More

EDITORIAL: State schools continue spending more for less

As reported by the Empire Center last week, “The number of students enrolled in New York state public schools is the lowest recorded in 30 years.” Since 2000, enrollment in public schools has declined by more than 10 percent statewide with most of it upstate as enrollment in New York City schools has increased 1.3 percent in the last 10 years. Students are not leaving to go to private or parochial schools either because they, too, are showing declines, down about 8 percent in the last decade. Read More

What Cuomo’s executive order on vaping will and won’t do

“If you have these really young kids and teens getting hooked, then that’s not good," said Bill Hammond, director of health policy at the Empire Center for Public Policy. "But the first step would be to do some research, have a public hearing, get the best expert evidence that you have. Instead of reacting to headlines, find out what’s really going on and proceed with proposed regulations.” Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130
E-Mail: info@empirecenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.