April 3, 2014

New York leads US in residents’ tax burden for 7th straight year

The results of this study won’t come as a surprise to anyone who lives here.

New York is once again No. 1 when it comes to the taxes state and local governments collect from residents, according to a Tax Foundation study issued Wednesday.

Tax collectors grabbed 12.6 percent of New Yorkers’ income in 2011, an average of $6,622 per person, the study said.

The total haul for the state and municipalities was $68 billion — second only to California’s $115.1 billion.

The dubious distinction marked the seventh straight year the Empire State led the nation in taxing its residents.

New Jersey wasn’t far behind, scooping up 12.3 percent, followed by Connecticut at 11.9 percent.

By comparison, the state with the lowest combined tax rate was Wyoming, where residents only had to turn over 6.9 percent of their income.

The average of US states is 9.8 percent.

Tax Foundation economist Liz Malm said New York’s top ranking was due to its high income- and property-tax rates, as well as its high property values and salaries compared with other states.

“If you are levying a tax on something that is high value to begin with you’ll collect a higher percentage,” she said. “High property values will lead to high property taxes later.”

Taxpayers could take some solace that the 12.6 percent tax grab was lower than that in the previous year, when 13.1 percent of New Yorkers’ income was eaten up by taxes to the state and local governments.

The federal tax tab was separate and on top of that.

“In terms of US trends, state and local taxes as a share of income are decreasing on average, but they’re moving at different rates,” Malm said. “It wasn’t enough to move those three at the top.”

Gov. Cuomo’s office has been consulting with the Tax Foundation over how it compiles its data.

“We went into all the different tax features in New York,” Tax Foundation vice president Joseph Henchman said. “After being critical, they want to know more about how the index works.”

A Cuomo spokesman said the administration isn’t taking issue with the findings.

“This report reflects the negative consequences of past tax hikes that occurred before the governor took office,” said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.

But Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican who is looking to unseat Cuomo in November, said the report proves New York is on a “losing path.”

“Being singled out for the highest tax burden in the nation is not a distinction to be proud of,” Astorino said.

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