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ABC’s Testimony on the New York State Tax Budget Hearing

First, we want to thank the legislature for the opportunity to speak today on this important topic. I am here representing the Associated Builders & Contractors, Empire State Chapter (ABC). We are a construction trade association representing hundreds of merit shop contractors, employing tens of thousands of workers across New York State. Our organization promotes fair and open competition and free enterprise and provides education and world-class safety services for our members.

Over the past decade, New York has seen a steady decline in its population. While some would like to claim its due to the “weather”. That’s not the case. The reality is New York government is intentionally making it too expensive to be average in New York.

In April 2020, the population estimate for the Empire State was 20,201,230. On July 1, 2021, the population was around 19,857,492, and on July 1, 2022, the population was around 19,677,151. That’s a 180,341 (-0.9%) population decline between 2021 and 2022. The U.S Census Bureau said New York’s net domestic migration of -299,557 was the largest contributing factor to the state’s population decrease.

New York State needs to reduce the tax burden on individuals and businesses or the loss of population and job talent will continue to leave the State permanently. A 2023 Tax Foundation study ranked New York 49th out of 50 in state business tax climate index. The state ranks 50th in individual tax rate, 43rd in sales tax rate and 49th in property tax rate. It also currently ranks as the 40th worst state in unemployment insurance tax rate, this will only increase with the looming UI crisis. Across the state businesses are in dire straits, they need widespread relief now. Lowering the tax burden will benefit every individual and business in NY.

Wallethub uses a metric called “Tax Burden” which measures the proportion of total personal income that residents pay toward state and local taxes. New York has the highest tax burden in the US, even exceeding Hawaii, at 12.75%. The individual income tax burden is significantly higher than any other state at 4.90%, why would people choose to stay in NY when there are 49 better options? These are inarguable facts that require attention.

The reality is people are leaving because New York has simply become too expensive for the average person and family. Our citizens need tax relief now. You, as an elected leader, need to look at taxation not as an individual tax but how they all work in totality. Everywhere we turn, we face taxes. It’s a sales tax, a gas tax, a health insurance tax, a tax on our cellphones and other utilities. It’s the entire personal income tax structure. It just goes on and on.

You, our leaders in Albany, need to take action to help the people they represent. Stop our population so that we can retain people and fill current and future job openings.