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Upstate United addresses New York’s taxes

Upstate United, a non-partisan, pro-taxpayer organization, is again pushing back against New York state’s tax burden.

In a fact sheet released last week ahead of the state’s budget agreement, Upstate United shows how New York compares with other states in various tax areas.

“As special interests keep calling on Albany to raise taxes, our organization is committed to fighting for much-needed tax relief. Overburdened taxpayers continue to flee New York, due in part to the state’s extraordinary tax burden,” said the organization’s Executive Director Justin Wilcox in a statement. “Returning to the days of massive tax hikes and bloated budgets isn’t progressive, it’s problematic.”

The organization noted that New York ranked 48th nationwide in the Tax Foundation’s 2021 Business Tax Climate Index, ahead of just California and New Jersey. Upstate United noted that as part of their budget proposals, the state’s Senate and Assembly proposed higher rates on certain business taxes.

Citing several reports from WalletHub, Upstate United’s fact sheet shows that New York has the highest overall tax burden and the third-highest annual state and local taxes on median household. The state ranks seven for taxpayer return on investment, which is the total taxes paid per capita versus overall government services rank, and ninth for its effective property tax rate.

“Thanks to the recent federal stimulus package and better-than-expected state tax collections, there are ample resources for this year’s budget,” Wilcox said. “Moving forward, we’ll need to grow our way out of this problem. Washington isn’t going to come to our rescue every year. The sooner we can reopen businesses, rebuild our economy and revive our communities, the better.”

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Rochester Chamber joins coalition to permanently cap property tax at 2 percent

The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Inc. has joined a statewide coalition to advocate for making the 2 percent property tax cap permanent.

On Tuesday, several organizations including the Chamber, the Business Council of New York State, the Business Council of Westchester and the Long Island Association launched a statewide partnership that will be chaired by its respective presidents to hold the line on property taxes and “keep New York State economically competitive and affordable.”

The group will be expanded with additional business organizations and chambers of commerce throughout the state, officials said.

“Rochester Chamber fully supports a permanent property tax cap in New York State. Since his first year in office, Gov. Cuomo has had success in saving property owners billions of dollars through the tax cap,” Chamber President and CEO Bob Duffy said in a statement. “Families in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region still need relief from some of the highest property taxes per capita in the nation.”

In 2011, New York enacted a cap that limited the growth of school and local property taxes to 2 percent, or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. The cap was renewed in 2015 and expires next year, but is legally tied to New York City rent-control laws, which end in June this year. Coalition members said action on the cap must be taken now.

“The real property tax cap is one of Governor Cuomo’s signature achievements, and was adopted in 2011 with broad, bipartisan support. Since then, it has saved New York’s homeowners and business owners billions of dollars in reduced property tax burdens,” said the Business Council President and CEO Heather Briccetti. “The heavy impact of local real property taxes in New York is well documented. The Business Council, and many of our allied organizations, were early and ardent supporters. The cap, along with limited spending growth at the state level, has produced a new era of governmental fiscal prudence in New York State.”

Officials noted that municipalities, including school districts, which are the biggest driver of property taxes, have “by and large responded to the cap with prudent budgeting, more efficiency and restrained spending.” In essence, the coalition said, “towns, villages and schools have learned to do more with less.”

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Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer