Some business groups came to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s defense this afternoon after the Tax Foundation said New York ranked last in the country for its business climate.
“It is not a surprise to anyone that New York’s tax climate hinders business growth, but no one has done more to change that than Governor Andrew Cuomo,” said Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City.
Cuomo has successfully built support among business groups for his agenda—which included a property-tax cap, limited state spending and even keeping higher taxes on the rich. They started the Committee to Save New York, which last year dropped $10 million to promote Cuomo’s budget.
The state Business Council said those accomplishments weren’t noted in the Tax Foundation report.
“The Business Council is disappointed with New York’s poor rating in the Tax Foundation’s newly released 2013 State Business Tax Index,” said Heather Briccetti, president of state Business Council, in a statement. “This report does not reflect the progress New York has made in its budget and tax policy over the past two years. The property tax cap adopted last year, and this year’s pension reform, will produce benefits over time. However, this rating shows that we have significant work to do to reverse years of bad tax and spending decisions.
The Fiscal Policy Institute, a labor-backed think tank in Albany, said the report’s findings were flawed. The group, citing federal labor statistics, said that New York ranked 12th nationally on three economic performance measures: employment, personal income and GDP growth.
The group said the states that were ranked highest on the Tax Foundation report all performed worse than New York in economic performance.
“It must be that there is a positive relationship between taxes and economic performance,” said James Parrott, chief economist for the Fiscal Policy Institute.
But some business groups in New York said the report showed that government hasn’t done enough to entice companies to stay, expand or locate in the state.
The report found that New York ranked 50th on income taxes, 45th on unemployment taxes, 45th on property taxes, 38th in sales taxes and 23rd in corporate taxes.
“Governor Cuomo said two years ago that New York has no future as the tax capital of the U.S., but that’s exactly what we are and unless that changes none of the other reforms will matter,” said Mike Durant, state director for the National Federation of Independent Business.