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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The 2015 state budget has propelled New York from the bottom of the pile in terms of tax rankings to third from the bottom.

While it may not seem like a major accomplishment, not being last is a step up for the Empire State, which has lingered in that spot for years, according to the the Tax Foundation, a Washington D.C.-based think tank.

New York's new ranking puts it ahead of California and New Jersey in terms of overall tax ranking. The upgrade is due, in large part, to the improvement of the state's corporate tax structure. New York had been ranked 25th in that category — the best ranking the state had in any category — and is now ranked fourth, behind only Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming — all states that have no corporate tax.

"The corporate tax bill passed in 2014 is an impressive step toward fixing New York’s complex and burdensome tax system," the Tax Foundation said in their report. "We hope the state continues to build on these reforms in years to come."

Business organizations in the state are treating the news as a victory.

“As we have said for years, the best economic development tool for New York is to lower taxes to encourage private sector job growth," said Brian Sampson, Unshackle Upstate executive director. "The Governor and Legislature should be commended for understanding that high taxes are a recipe for failure, and for taking steps to make New York competitive once again. The recently enacted state budget took the first step in the journey to reinvigorate New York’s private sector.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also heralded the news.

"This year’s budget builds on positive reforms included in our three prior budgets, which have greatly improved the business and tax climate in the state and changed the trajectory of New York’s economic standing. This dramatic improvement, demonstrated by the upward progress in today’s Tax Foundation report, serves as further proof that after decades of decline, New York is reclaiming its reputation as a great place to do business," Cuomo said. "Our strategy is working and today’s news is proof positive that the new New York is Open for Business. And when New York is economically competitive, we all win."

Most other category rankings remain unchanged. Individual income tax ranking remains 49th. Sales tax ranking is still 38th. Unemployment insurance tax ranking is unchanged at 45. The property tax component ranking, however, is upgraded to 44th from 45th.

The Tax Foundation, in 2006 and again in 2008, declared Niagara County to have the highest property taxes in the nation — as a percentage of home value. Elected officials at the time declared the formula itself to be flawed, saying that it just went to prove how inexpensive property was in Niagara County.

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