Buffalo Niagara employers operate in one of the most highly taxed and overly regulated economic environments anywhere in the country. The Tax Foundation once again ranked New York State has having the second worst business tax climate in the country. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership outlined our priorities for tax relief in our recently released 2018 Advocacy Agenda.
The reality of New York’s high tax burden became a flash point in the debate over federal tax reform. Governor Cuomo and leaders from other high taxed states cried foul over a new $10,000 cap on the deduction for state and local taxes that was central to the legislation signed into law by President Trump at the end of last year. The new, lower cap is a concern because high income residents used the deduction to reduce their overall tax burden and may now be motivated to move to a lower tax state. An exodus of high income residents would cause significant budget woes for states like New York. Now several states, including New York, are planning to sue over the federal tax overhaul.
To reduce the tax burden in New York, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership has long championed the state’s property tax cap which has been an effective tool to keep property taxes in check. The Partnership has advocated against efforts to weaken the cap through special exemptions. Collectively, these exemptions will jeopardize the cap’s effectiveness. We support making the cap permanent and are encouraged the Republican Majority in the State Senate has identified doing so as one its 2018 priorities. Just controlling the growth of property taxes though is not enough. To reduce property taxes, Albany must address the root problem driving high property taxes – the unfunded mandates it sends down to municipalities.
New York must also do more to provide real tax relief to small businesses. According to the State Comptroller, small businesses are responsible for nearly 4 million jobs in New York. The Partnership supports increasing the exemption percentage for small employers who file through personal income tax and lowering the rate for small employers who file through corporate tax.
Despite any local or regional success, the Upstate economy will continue to lag behind many parts of the country until Albany provides true, meaningful and lasting tax relief.
2018 Advocacy Defined Blog Series Table of Contents:
- Tax Relief
- Employer Mandates
- TAP Funding
- Healthcare Costs
- Prevailing Wage/Scaffold Law
- Professional Licensing for Immigrants
- Pell & Perkins