Report: NYC And Its Suburbs Pay More Taxes, Get Less In Return

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New York City and its suburbs pay most of the state’s taxes and send more to upstate than they receive in return, a report today found.

Overall, New York residents paid about $73 billion in various income, business and usage taxes to the state in the 2009-10 fiscal year, according to the report from the Albany-based Rockefeller Institute of Government, a research center.

New York City and its suburbs paid 72 percent of the taxes and received about 58 percent back in state aid for education, Medicaid and other government programs. The rest of the state put in 28 percent and got back 42 percent in state aid, the report said.

The report concluded that wealthier areas of the state, in particular the New York City suburbs, sent more to Albany than they got in return.

The five suburban counties, the two on Long Island and Westchester, Putnam and Rockland, contributed nearly 27 percent to the state’s coffers and got back 18 percent -– the largest disparity among regions.

“Overall, the geographic distribution of revenues reflects a policy balance,” the report found. “While every region contributes significantly to the state budget, those regions that enjoy larger shares of New York state’s income and economic activity also pay more to Albany.”

If New York City’s share of tax expenditures had been the same as its share of revenue, the city would have received $4.1 billion to $6.1 billion more than it
did, the report concluded.

The New York City suburbs would have gained even more — between $4.6 billion to $7.9 billion — if the taxes and revenue were proportionally divided.

As a result, the rest of the state would have lost between $8.1 billion and $9.3 billion, while the Capital region would have lost an estimated $2.7 billion, the report said.

The report is the latest study to detail the split between New York’s wealthy areas and its poorer ones. And it also illustrates the ongoing divide between upstate and downstate for state resources –- a perennial fight at the state capital.

“A state can move money from one region to another in ways that local governments cannot,” Thomas Gais, director of the Rockefeller Institute, said in a statement. “New Yorkers may disagree on whether the current balance of giving and getting is the best one. Our report does not directly answer that question.”

Giving and Getting Final

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