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October 20, 2012

Area employers react to tax study

Report ranks N.Y. 50th out of 50 for business climate

All but one of the area business leaders interviewed Friday agreed with the findings of a nonpartisan tax research group. 

The national Tax Foundation report ranked New York’s business tax climate index the worst in the nation. It compares states in five areas of taxation that affect businesses, including corporate, individual and property taxes.

“They do soak us for a lot of taxes,” Cooperstown Motel owner Al O’Brien said.

In addition, the necessary paperwork for workers compensation, disability, state and federal withholding and social security taxes can require 50-75 hours a week.

“They don’t even send me a Christmas card,” he said.

The business employs three. With that business climate, “I can understand why so many businesses are leaving,” he said. “It really is outrageous.”

If it was possible to move the motel, “I’d be out of this state really quickly.” He helped his parents build it in 1949 and worked there for 45 years.

“I would sell it in a heartbeat,” but he doesn’t want to give so much away in taxes. In contrast, “The Otsego County Chamber is disappointed with the ranking,” Executive Director Barbara Ann Heegan said. “We have to celebrate the milestones that the state is making with tax incentives and reforms under Gov. Andrew Cuomo,” she said.

The chamber will continue to work with Cuomo and the state legislature on tax and regulatory changes that will help improve the county business climate so more doors will be open by businesses of all sizes and sectors, she said.

The others interviewed agreed with the research group’s findings.

David Harder is president of Reinhardt Corp. in West Oneonta. It sells a variety of energy products and has about 22 employees.

“With a customer base that needs to be serviced, we are not going anyplace,” he said. However, it’s a fact that a lot of people are leaving the state and businesses are moving out, because of taxes, he said. “There are states where it is a lot cheaper to do business.”

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