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OPINION: New York is last U.S. state to hit Tax Freedom Day

By Will Barclay


Once again, New York has found itself on the bottom of several major tax rankings, highlighting why so many residents have left the state and why our economic recovery will be an uphill climb. According to a report from the Tax Foundation, New York has the worst Tax Freedom Day — a hypothetical day that represents how long it takes to relieve residents of their tax responsibility. The Empire State also has the third-worst business tax-climate index.

These rankings represent real problems, and the effects are startling. The most recent round of Census data confirmed what we had suspected for a while, that ongoing population loss will cost us a seat in Congress. This diminishes our representation and influence in the federal government. 

New York has consistently ranked near the bottom of virtually every business and tax-climate metric devised. Year after year, other states put drastically less financial pressure on their residents and small-business owners. According to the most recent data from the Tax Foundation, residents in states like Alaska and Oklahoma would be able to pay off their tax bill before April, yet in New York that date would not come until May 3. There is no state with a later date, and the national average is April 16.

Out of 50 states, our rankings for individual income tax, sales tax and property tax rates are 48, 43, and 45, respectively. The Assembly minority conference has called for tax relief year after year, but those calls have been ignored by legislative Democrats and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who instead would rather dig the hole deeper with their seemingly limitless tax-and-spend agenda.

In fact, even as the state’s out-migration problem has worsened, the Democrat-driven 2021-22 enacted budget that was recently passed comes with both a corporate tax hike and new, permanent taxes on high-earners. The final spending plan includes $3.7 billion in tax increases this year and another $4.4 billion next year. We’re going in reverse, and Democrat leadership’s plan to address the problem is to ignore it and hope it goes away.

There is no excuse for a $212 billion budget, which puts our spending on par with California, a state that has twice as many people as New York and represents roughly the same amount as the Texas and Florida budgets combined. The impacts of this fiscally irresponsible spending plan are not going away anytime soon. If New York is going to reverse the massive out-migration it has experienced in recent years, these ranking are going to need to improve, plain and simple.                       

William (Will) A. Barclay, Republican, is the New York Assembly minority leader and represents the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses most of Oswego County, including the cities of Oswego and Fulton, as well as the town of Lysander in Onondaga County and town of Ellisburg in Jefferson County. Contact Barclay at 


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