Angry New Yorker

Tuesday, November 11, 2003
New Yorkers Pay More Taxes
From Gotham Gazette -
"A new study released yesterday [available here] by the Citizens Budget Commission confirms what many have long believed:

New Yorkers pay the largest local tax in the country -- 72 percent above the national average. City residents pay $73 in local taxes for every $1,000 in personal income compared with a $43 national average, the study found. When state taxes are factored in, New Yorkers have to pay $141 for every $1,000 they earned -- the highest payout in the country. These figures, based on federal economic data from the 2000 fiscal year, did not include this year's increases in state and city personal income and sales taxes.
The study pointed to Medicaid, education and pension costs as the driving forces behind higher state and local taxes. "Local government across the state are struggling under the weight of these requirement," said commission president Diana Fortuna.

Asked about the findings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that he will try to convince State Legislature to reduce city's obligation to pay $4 billion for Medicaid. The mayor also reiterated his pledge to try to lower taxes when the economy rebounds. [ed. note - fat chance of that happening with the city council we have now.]

The study focuses on five problem areas:
    New Yorkers are the most heavily taxed Americans.
    New York’s debt burden is among the highest in the nation.
    New York has large and recurring budget gaps.
    New York’s budget process lacks timeliness, transparency,
    and responsibility.
    Improvements in fiscal practices are hampered by unresponsive
    governmental institutions.

And suggests nine reforms
  • REFORM 1
    Require that the adopted budget be balanced in accord with generally accepted accounting principles.
  • REFORM 2
    Require a four-year financial plan with quarterly modifications.
  • REFORM 3
    Replace the constitutional requirement for voter approval of general obligation debt with a constitutional limit on the amount of all state debt that is set based on relevant, changing economic factors.
  • REFORM 4
    Create a professional, non-partisan Legislative Budget Office to provide fiscal information to both houses of the Legislature and to the public.
  • REFORM 5
    Require that independently prepared revenue projections be used in the adopted budget, if the Governor and Legislature do not agree on revenue projections in a timely way.
  • REFORM 6
    Require a “rainy day” fund larger than the current Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund.
  • REFORM 7
    Eliminate the use of “off-budget” accounts.
  • REFORM 8
    Change the budget calendar to allow more time for deliberation on the
    Executive Budget by the Legislature.
  • REFORM 9
    Strengthen the committee process of the State Legislature to allow more
    participation by members in budgetary decisions.

(See also Kenneth Lovett and David Seifman, NYers Slugged With Nation's Highest Taxes, N.Y. Post, p. 1, Nov. 11, 2003; Al Baker, Study Says Local Tax Bite Is Deepest in New York, N.Y Times, Nov. 11, 2003, available at
(Information about the Citizens Budget Commission - here.)

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