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On the Bright Side

April 14, 2014

Study: New York is No. 1 -- in taxes

The Empire State has the highest tax burden in the nation, according to a recently released study — a ranking that frustrates at least two local lawmakers. 

The Tax Foundation ranked New York as No. 1 in a study of states’ tax burdens for residents, based on 2011 data. The report was released earlier in April, just as many people are busy preparing their income tax returns, which are due Tuesday. 

New York has held the top spot for seven years.

“That’s the one place we don’t want to be No. 1,” state Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, said Thursday.

Assemblyman Pete Lopez, R-Schoharie, agreed.

“It’s a sour note,” Lopez said. “It continues to be a source of vexation for all of us.”

Both politicians, referring to this year’s state budget, said some tax relief is ahead but agreed more work is needed, especially in the areas of reducing property taxes and state mandates that raise costs for local schools and municipalities.

“There’s a lot more to be done,” Seward said.

 New Yorkers paid 12.6 percent of their income, or an average of $6,622 per person, in 2011, the year the most-recent data is available, to state and local governments, the foundation said. The average per capita income was $52,417.

Tuesday’s deadline for filing state and federal income taxes is a reminder of the state’s high tax burden.

Nationally, Americans paid 9.8 percent of their income in state and local taxes in 2011, the Tax Foundation said. The rate was up from 9.3 percent in 2000 but about the same in 2009.

New York’s “Tax Freedom Day,” the day on which New Yorkers have collectively earned enough income to pay off federal, state and local tax bills, will arrive May 4 this year.

New York will be the 48th state to reach Tax Freedom Day. May 9 is Tax Freedom Day for New Jersey and Connecticut.

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