Report finds NY state has second worst business climate in U.S.

October 18, 2017 05:54 PM

Second worst in the nation. That's New York's ranking for a second year in a row when it comes to its business tax climate. The ranking is based on a report compiled annually by the Tax Foundation.

NewsChannel 13's Jerry Gretzinger did some investigating into the results that are disappointing to say the least - especially given the millions New York has been spending trying to sell itself as being "Open for Business."

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Rensselaer was the latest city in New York State to express interest in luring Amazon's new headquarters on Tuesday. Offering up a parcel that has been empty for some time. A complicating factor for every New York bid, the Tax Foundation index that ranks the state's business tax climate 49th nationwide - besting only New Jersey.

"I don't think anyone expects New York State to go plunging to best tax climate in the U.S.," admitted Ken Polasky, the vice-president of the Business Council of New York State.

However, he also says the news isn't all bad. New York has dramatically improved its franchise taxes, increasing its corporate tax rank to number seven in the index. He feels the rest of the woeful tax picture can be offset by New York's assets.

"A tech company like Amazon is going to be looking very heavily at quality of work force, education of work force, quality of life issues. Are the schools good, are the cities livable? On some of those scores, I think New York state ranks very well," explained Polasky.

However, in 2011, New York State rolled out a multi-million dollar marketing campaign offering huge incentives and trying to convince the world New York is "open for business."

Greg Biryla of Unshackle Upstate says that's just not the message coming across right now.

"If we had a rational tax climate in the state, we would not need to keep so many generous tax incentives onto companies to entice them to come to New York," pointed out Birlya.

He admits there was movement in the right direction when Governor Cuomo first took office, but feels efforts have waned.

"I would implore the governor and Legislature to get back on that track," urged Polasky.

As for Rensselaer, they'll try to offset the bad press and develop this parcel - Amazon or not.

Kate Manley, the head of their regional chamber of commerce, believes good things are ahead.

"We have a ways to go, but I think we are capitalizing on the momentum and creating some transformational projects that are here," pointed out Manley.

NewsChannel 13 reached out to the state for reaction to the Tax Foundation ranking.

Morris Peters with the New York State Division of Budget sent the following statement:

"We now have the lowest corporate tax rate since 1968, the lowest manufacturers' tax rate since 1917 and with the new income tax cuts phasing in this year, the lowest middle class tax rates since 1947."

They added that the current administration has constrained spending growth to the lowest level in modern history - resulting in lower taxes for all New Yorkers.


WNYT Staff

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