Empire Center for
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Fiscal Watch Memos
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February 5, 2013
Governor Cuomo’s proposed state budget for fiscal 2014 envisions a relatively strong 6.6 percent ($2.6 billion) increase in net personal income tax (PIT) receipts for the year starting April 1, even though the tax so far has under-performed the original budget projections for fiscal 2013. The highest-earning one percent of New York taxpayers is expected to generate 41 percent of net receipts, according to the Economic and Revenue Outlook volume of the budget (see p. 208).
The chart below shows the estimated and projected five-year trend in the PIT, which is by far the state’s largest tax source. For more fiscal plan details both the receipts and disbursements side, see the Empire Center’s new Explore the State Budget online app.
January 31, 2013
Governor Cuomo* is running TV commercials declaring that his proposed 2013-14 budget features no new taxes — a claim also widely reflected in most news media coverage of the budget.
It’s not quite true, however. Compared to what is now written into permanent state law, Cuomo’s budget would, in fact, raise $325 million more next year, and $2.2 billion over the next four years, by extending a pair of almost new taxes — temporary measures, first enacted in 2009, that were supposed to expire by the end of the next fiscal year.
January 3, 2013
For taxpayers in New York State’s top personal income tax bracket, the new federal tax law will drive the combined federal and state marginal tax rate to within a percentage point of 50 percent, its highest level in 27 years. For New York City’s highest earning residents, the combined federal-state-local income tax bite will now consume more than half of every added dollar of income for couples earning at least $1,000,000.
January 2, 2013
The just-enacted federal tax increase will fall heavily on high-income New Yorkers – but will take a much smaller bite out of the Empire State’s tax base than President Barack Obama had been seeking.
The bill preserves President George W. Bush’s income tax cuts for the vast majority of households while raising the top federal income tax rate, from 35 percent back to the pre-Bush level of 39.6 percent, on taxable incomes of $400,000 for single filers to $450,000 for married joint filers. This effectively translates into gross household incomes of $450,000 to over $500,000, respectively.
December 11, 2012
Governor Andrew Cuomo today finally got around to announcing most of the members of the “Tax Reform and Fairness Commission,” which he first promised to create a year ago as part of the legislative deal that temporarily extended the state’s income tax hike on million-dollar earners.
The list of commission members is headed by former state Comptroller Carl McCall, the Cuomo-appointed chairman of the State University of New York board, and includes two other current Cuomo administration members, Tax Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox and J. Patrick Barrett, chairman of the Olympic Regional Development Authority.
November 12, 2012
The prices of some previously high-flying stocks such as Apple recently have been plummeting, and the stock market has just suffered “its worst week of declines in five months,” the Wall Street Journal reports. This is not good news for savers and investors — but it may be causing sighs of relief in some corners of the state Capitol.
The state Division of the Budget is counting on a Wall Street stock sell-off to meet its financial plan target for state personal income tax (PIT) collections in the current fiscal year. As of September, at the midway point in the state fiscal year, PIT receipts were below forecast. However, the 2012-13 financial plan assumed the year will end with a big increase in what are known as “extension payments” for tax year 2012. This, the Enacted Financial Plan says, “reflects an assumption of early realization of capital gains due to the projected sunset of the Bush tax cuts as scheduled starting with tax year 2013.”
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October 23, 2012
The combined state and local tax burden on New York residents in 2010, the year before Governor Andrew Cuomo took office, reached its highest level since 1994, the last year his father held the same office, as measured by data released today by the Tax Foundation in Washington, D.C. Relative to the national average, the tax burden on New Yorkers has grown since the start of the recession, according to the same Tax Foundation analysis.
After dipping to third place in 2008 and second in 2009, New Yorkers once again rank as the most heavily taxed people in the country as of 2010, the Tax Foundation said. The combined per-capita state and local tax burden on New York residents was estimated by the foundation at 12.8 percent of per-capita income — up from 12.1 percent in 2009, and the highest level since Mario Cuomo’s last year as governor. The New York tax burden was about 31 percent higher than the national average in 2010.
October 18, 2012
“The first casualty of war is always the truth,” Winston Churchill observed. The same might be said of political battles. Around New York in this campaign season, incumbent state legislators in both parties have been bending facts into pretzels when they discuss their recent records on state taxes, in particular.
October 10, 2012
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has jumped on the bandwagon in favor of raising New York City’s top resident income tax rate — just a day after two undeclared 2013 mayoral candidates, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and then-City Comptroller William Thompson stepped (somewhat gingerly) off it.
Back in 2009, both Quinn and Thompson advocated raising the New York City resident income tax on high-income households. More recently, different plans to raise the top rate have also been floated by three other prospective Democratic candidates — Comptroller john Liu, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and, most recently, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
October 9, 2012
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New York ranks 50th — meaning “worst” — in the Tax Foundation’s 2013 State Business Tax Index, released today. The Empire State’s ranking tumbled back to last place after climbing all the way up to number 48 in the 2011 Index.
As in previous rankings by the Washington, D.C.-based group, the Tax Foundation says the biggest negative in New York’s climate for business is its personal income tax. New York looks particularly burdensome in this category (2013 ranking: 50) because the index’s weighting of taxes include local income taxes, and New York City imposes the heaviest local income tax in the country. And it will get worse, if the the city’s leading Democratic mayoral candidates have their way.