This just in: New York has high taxes

tax foundation tax income map 2014 FY2011

A map created by the Tax Foundation based on its calculations, the deeper the blue the higher the percentage of income in a state that goes to state and local taxes.

New York State once again topped the Tax Foundation's annual list of highest state-local "tax burdens" as a percentage of income. The think tank calculates that 12.6 percent of income in New York goes to state and local taxes . (The US average is 9.8 percent.) The figures are for fiscal year 2011.

It's the third straight year New York has topped the list. It's joined in the top three by New Jersey and Connecticut, a trio the Tax Foundation reports has held the three spots since 2005. Somewhat interesting to us: New York's rate has more or less held steady over the last 35 years, according to the rankings.

New York's place in the top spot isn't surprising. But when it comes to these sorts of lists we'd like to also see what people are (or aren't) getting for the taxes they pay. A small, localized example: Property taxes in the city of Albany tend to be higher than some of the surrounding suburbs, but those taxes cover services -- like garbage collection -- that you might have to pay for separately somewhere else.

Highlighting what people are getting for their taxes wouldn't necessarily let New York State off the hook for its high-tax rep. But it might make some of the trade-offs more clear and specific.

The Tax Foundation describes itself as an "independent tax policy research organization." Here's a run through of the methodology for its tax/income calculations.

The Cuomo admin has been pushing consolidation and shared services as a way for local governments to save money (and, you know, not raise taxes). Over at Capital, Jimmy Vielkind has an article looking at the issue of New York's many, many layers of local of government -- and finds some of these layers more or less only exist on paper, and the touted savings from consolidation could be hard to come by.


Are you freaking kidding me! For what I pay in property taxes for the collection 2 bags of garbage that I leave out front every week I could hire a private chauffeur driven limo to take me to the dump in Wyoming every month. The stupidity continues to amaze me!

@BS: That's the point. If what people are getting for their taxes was specifically enumerated -- with how much those services cost -- then people could make better choices about what the tradeoffs are worth. To use your example: I don't think anyone who lives in the city of Albany can specifically say how much they're currently paying for trash service -- and many other city services -- as a share of their annual taxes. (For that matter, I suspect the city couldn't say, either, which is itself a major problem.) If that was clear, people could decide if that extra $1k or whatever they're paying in the city is -- or is not -- worth it.

Another example: The Schenectady school board is currently deciding which programs to cut to cover its budget gap. Having the cost of the programs clearly stated should make it easier for people to decide whether it's worth it to them. Are elementary school library positions worth another $15 (or whatever) on your annual taxes? Vote/petition/protest/rally/sell your house and move accordingly.

Greg, you make an interesting point. In Albany, the two "taxes" that are broken down to the granular level are water (more a fee than a tax) and the library budget. You can somewhat control your water bill by conserving water, but you pay for the library tax whether you use the public library or not. However, we know in a collective society that we all pay for a range of gov't services we may not use directly but are for the common good. I don't have children, but I vote yes on school budgets. Cities have more low income people than the suburbs and we city dwellers underwrite social programs for people other than ourselves. I accepted that social compact when I chose to live in a city.

I've never quite understood why the folks who vehemently and bitterly complain about taxes in NYS, or loudly proclaim their 'hate' for NYS in general, don't move elsewhere. If it's really that bad, why don't they be pro-active, take control of their lives, and move to New Hampshire, Montana, or to some other utopia who-knows-where? Why continue to live here and complain?

I'm not saying this from a "love it or leave it" sense -- that if one lives in NYS then one must love everything here and can't complain. Complaining in some cases can be a way to show you love where you live. It certainly is an American pastime. And I understand that some people may, for one reason or another, live here not by choice. It's just that some folks seem to be so unhappy and so bitter -- the level of emotion is rather striking -- that I don't think it represents any kind of love.

Most of us can still choose where we live and work. But in the end, we just can't move away from ourselves.

Bob, you took the words out of my mouth and articulated just how I feel. I love living in New York. yep I said it. (although I sometimes feel like a chump for it, see: high taxes).

And after a winter of hearing people endlessly complain about the weather, I want to scream SHUT UP or MOVE!

How much of the federal taxes that New Yorkers pay wind up in the coffers of "low tax" states like Alabama and Mississippi?

Get over the "love it or leave it angle". There is no reason for New Yorkers to pay upwards of 4 times the property taxes of other nearby states. WE DO NOT GET 4 x the services...unless you are working for the system...which from what I can gather is a MASSIVE amount of people here with their hand in the pot! This freaking country was built on tax revolt against the Mother Land....the colonists didn't love it or leave it they fought it.

Interesting Bob....

Can I gather that your advice to a battered wife would be "just pack your bags and leave, you're an adult, take control of your life." Sounds simple enough, but it's not.

It is a shame it's gotten to the level it has but it's not without foundation. I believe the bitterness comes from residents that are losing or have lost hope. Maybe it's the result of our willingness to tolerate Politicians that lie to us and fall short of the expectations Politicians create when campaigning. When your hopes are repeatedly dashed by the same group of people (Politicians) who respond to such disappointment by making newer, higher expectations only to repeat the process again; this nonsense wears people out.

In NYS it's very frustrating because it's so obvious that NYS's political system and process is broken and corrupt. Career Politicians like Jim Tedisco have been bragging about new reforms and fighting "the fight" to lower our tax burden for 25 years; despite the reality of higher taxes and more political corruption. NYS Politicians are like a tenant who convincingly promises to pay rent each month and despite not paying rent for years; the voters (landlords) of NYS refuse to start the eviction process. The voters just keep hoping the rent they are promised will come.

If anyone should move out of NYS it's NYS Politicians that should be packing their bags first. People need and deserve a hope that is based upon truthfulness and accomplishments.

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