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Tax Foundation says NY ranks 49th in tax climate for business

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo attends a meeting of

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo attends a meeting of the Long Island Association business group in Melville on Friday, June 3, 2016. New York State has the second-worst tax climate for businesses in the nation, according to an annual study by nonpartisan think tank The Tax Foundation. Credit: Steve Pfost

New York State has the second-worst tax climate for businesses in the country for the third year in a row, a nonpartisan think tank said Wednesday.

The Tax Foundation, in its annual review of tax policy, ranked New York 49th among the 50 states because of high taxes on personal income, property and purchases.

New Jersey had the nation’s worst tax climate, placing 50th. California was 48th, and Minnesota, Vermont and the District of Columbia rounded out the bottom five. (Vermont and Washington, D.C., tied for 47th.)

Wyoming, which doesn’t tax personal and corporate income, continued to have the best climate, the Washington-based foundation said.

In terms of types of taxes, New York ranked 49th in levies on personal income, 47th in property taxes and 43rd in sales taxes.

The one bright spot for New York was corporate taxes, where the state moved from 11th in 2015 to seventh this year, foundation policy analyst Jared Walczak said in a tweet to Newsday.

He and the other authors of the foundation’s Business Tax Climate Index praised Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the State Legislature for adopting a 2014 law that lowers the corporate tax rate over time, from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent.

The index, in its 13th year, is released each fall and projects the tax burden on companies in the coming year.

New York also placed 49th last year and in 2014, an improvement over the indexes that were published in October 2013 and October 2012, when the state came in dead last. But those indexes were revised later, moving New York up to 49th.

The Business Council of New York State, which represents companies, said the impact of state tax credits, tax breaks from industrial development agencies and other business aid is negated by the state’s high taxes.

Council president Heather C. Briccetti said, “No economic development program in the world would allow us to overcome the systemic faults in our tax system that makes us uncompetitive in relation to our fellow states.”

Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi criticized the foundation, saying, “New York has a fair and progressive income tax structure that this conservative-leaning organization fundamentally disagrees with.” Cuomo has worked with the foundation on tax issues in the past.

Azzopardi noted that under Cuomo taxes on factories have fallen to their lowest rate since 1917 and the corporate tax rate is the lowest since 1968. He also said the tax cap, pushed by the governor, “broke the cycle of skyrocketing property tax hikes on businesses.”

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