Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why People Don't Come Here . . . By The Numbers

If you want proof as to why people are leaving Upstate NY in droves, look no farther than our property taxes as a percentage of our home values, calculated for about 1,800 counties, courtesy of the Tax Foundation.

Oneida County, at 2.4%, comes in at #24 in the country for the highest taxes as a percentage of home value (#186 for taxes as a % of income). With the exception of two counties in Texas and one in New Jersey, all of the higher-ranked counties for taxes as a % of home value are in Upstate New York.  In fact Upstate New York dominates the upper end of this list.

Herkimer County, at 2.2%, comes in at 43 (#265 for taxes as a % of income).

Interestingly, NY counties where people complain the loudest about property taxes (and they DO pay big $$$ in taxes in absolute terms), Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester, are ranked at 237, 292, and 354 respectively for taxes as a percentage of home value (but they are ##3, 8 and 7 when taxes are calculated as a % of income!).

Surprisingly, the counties in New York State with the lowest % of value paid in property taxes are Kings (aka Brooklyn) ranked 1553 nationally, and New York (aka Manhattan) ranked 1547.  These are among the lowest in the nation.  They are ## 281 and 572, respectively, when taxes are figured as a % of income.

Why are we taxed so much?  Per the Rochester D&C

"The reason upstate New York is so high," explains Tax Foundation economist Gerald Prante, "is they spend a lot on local government, especially on education, but they don't have high home values like the rest of the state."

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