Editorial: A raw deal for all New Yorkers

The Gazette Editorial Board

The Daily Gazette

Oct 18, 2018

For anyone seeking to pen a love story between Republicans and Democrats in New York, the first chapter is already written for you.

It comes in the form of a 35-page report by the state comptroller’s office, which highlights a $24.1 billion yearly disparity between what New Yorkers send to the federal government in taxes and what we get in return.

The report, issued Wednesday, found that for every dollar New Yorkers send to Washington, D.C., we get only 90 cents back. In fiscal year 2017, we sent $250 billion to Washington in income tax payments, Social Security tax, unemployment insurance tax and other payments. We got back just $225.7 billion.

New Yorkers are effectively subsidizing the taxes of residents of other states by allowing the federal government to send those states a greater percentage of federal assistance.

New York generated 8.0 percent of all federal tax payments in the country, even though we have just 6.1 percent of the nation’s population.

Each New Yorker on average contributed $12,588 to the federal treasury, while the average resident of other states contributed just $9,628, a difference of about $3,000.

We must be feeling really generous if each of us are willing to pay an extra $3,000 of our own money so someone in Wisconsin or North Carolina can pay less taxes.

If anything should be able to unite our politicians in this state, it’s standing up for all of New York’s overtaxed residents and businesses to demand a more equitable share of the federal financial pie.

Those citizens moving away to other states aren’t just escaping February snowstorms. High taxes play a significant role in dampening the state’s economic growth, job opportunities for residents, business development and overall quality of life.

That $24 billion we’re overpaying each year is money we could be getting back in aid to fix our crumbling roads and bridges and leaky old water and sewer lines.

It’s $24 billion we could be using to house our homeless people. It’s $24 billion that could be going to support our schools.

It’s $24 billion we could be using to lower the costs for businesses to operate. That, in turn, could encourage these businesses to create more jobs, employ more people and pay higher wages.

We understand that this tax disparity isn’t the only reason taxes in New York are so high. Excessive and wasteful spending, overregulation, unnecessary mandates and other factors all play a role in why New Yorkers are among highest-taxed residents in America.

The disparity in what we pay to the federal government and what we get back makes that situation even worse.

If our politicians should be able to put their differences aside and unite around anything, it’s making sure New Yorkers are treated fairly by the federal government.

Right now, this report shows, we’re not.

It’s time for our representatives to work together to fix that situation.