A Radical Plan for Upstate Taxes

  |  November 21, 2013

Argh, taxes. The subject comes up over and over from our readers, though mostly they’re talking — and wondering and whining — about property taxes: why are they so high, where are they lowest, how can we tell what they really are versus what’s advertised (short answer to the latter: your town assessor’s office)?

One group thinks that other taxes — income, sales, corporate franchise — are the real problem. All those must be lowered, says the pro-business group Unshackle Upstate, in order for upstate to thrive. “That is why we proposed our ‘New ERA for Upstate’ plan,” they wrote in an op-ed in the Albany Times-Union. “We are urging lawmakers to provide broad-based tax relief to people in economically distressed areas.

“The plan calls for lowering the income tax rate for low and middle income workers; eliminating the corporate franchise tax; ending the energy ‘surcharge’ on manufacturers; reducing state sales tax in the upstate counties that suffer the most economically; and safely extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.”

Well, some of those things aren’t people — like corporate franchises — and we’re not sure what will replace the money from the tax breaks. But I’m sure upstaters would welcome a tax reduction. Yet certainly some businesses are thriving upstate, and their tax dollars are welcome. For proof, check out this New Yorker article about Chobani’s upstate yogurt kingdom.

Read On, Reader...