Op-ed: Albany should create jobs—instead of taxing the suburbs to death

March 17, 2021


Lohud/The Journal News

Today, The Journal News/Lohud published the following op-ed by Partnership for New York City President and CEO, Kathryn Wylde, and Business Council of Westchester President and CEO, Marsha Gordon. 

New York state’s 2021-22 budget negotiations took a bleak turn this week, when both houses of the Legislature announced their plans for over $7 billion in tax increases and a 22.6% increase in spending. If enacted, New York will be the top-spending state in the country, with a budget rivaling California’s.

Residents of New York City, Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties already carry a disproportionate tax burden, accounting for 62% of all state personal income taxes. The suburban counties also have among the highest real estate taxes in the nation.

Throughout the pandemic, political pressure has been building on Albany legislators to “tax the rich”—ostensibly as retribution for how well the stock market and Wall Street performed in 2020. The truth is, the state does not need to raise taxes, thanks to the generous federal aid package engineered by President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer. Politics, not economics, are driving this budget.

The Legislature’s tax package would impose the highest state tax rates in the country on New York residents: a top rate of 11.85% for personal income taxes, 20% for estate taxes, and a new 1% surcharge on capital gains. This comes on top of the extra taxes paid by high earners since 2018, when the deductibility of state and local taxes from federal personal income tax liability was capped at $10,000. Collectively, this change in the federal tax code is costing New York taxpayers $12 billion a year in additional taxes.