Unemployment in New York is trending downward, but we can do better: our current unemployment rate of 8.3% is still above the national rate of 7.7%.
And despite being the third most-highly populated state in the country, New York has experienced anemic population growth of only 2.1% between 2000 and 2010, compared to the national average of 9.7%.
Of the 50 states, New York ranks 24th in health and wellness, 26th in state debt, 13th in educational achievement and dead last in tax climate. Our poverty rate is also above the national average.
Businesses and citizens alike are fleeing our borders for states with less punishing tax regimes and more business-friendly climates.
THE SOLUTIONS Lower tax rates to promote economic growth
Gov. Cuomo has acknowledged that New York “has no future as the tax capital of the nation.” We must strategically cut taxes, especially with a view to encouraging small business job creators. A reduction of the business tax rate and the elimination of the corporate tax on manufacturing companies will stimulate job growth. New York’s comparatively onerous estate tax incentivizes our seniors to spend their golden years elsewhere.
Stop punishing investment capital
Most states, as well as the federal government, tax capital gains at a rate lower than ordinary income in order to incentivize investment. Not New York: we are one of a minority of states that treat capital gains as ordinary income. Money earned on investments is subject to a punitive tax regime – one that eliminates deductions and applies the highest rate to the entire, and not just marginal, income. That the world’s financial capital chases away some of our most productive citizens who are eager to invest, build and leave an economic legacy is counterproductive. Large businesses have the luxury of relocating to other states, but New York’s small business owners are stuck with less take-home pay. A phased reduction of the tax rate on capital gains will let the owners of businesses both small and large know that New York is once again open for business.
Real mandate relief for lower property taxes
Albany hammers county governments with unfunded mandates that necessitate our state’s property tax burden, the worst in the nation. Despite passing a property tax cap, Gov. Cuomo’s team has not produced any real progress on unfunded mandates. Common sense reforms will lower the tax and regulatory burdens on local governments and school districts and allow for property tax relief. Among those reforms is the gradual transfer of funding of Medicaid to the state level, where policy is made, as has been proposed by our Republican Senate majority. Counties’ various public assistance programs should be consolidated, streamlined and refocused to promote self-sufficiency along the lines of the recommendations of the New York State Association of Counties.
Refocusing workforce training
New York’s workforce development program is a jumbled mess: 28 different funding schemes are accountable to 11 different agencies and plagued by a pervasive lack of coordination and collaboration. Focusing these funds on our community college job training programs would provide a better training environment and more meaningful career counseling thanks to their relationships with local industries. Community colleges can also use job training programs to help attract new businesses to New York.
Promoting school choice
Religious, charter and independent public schools perform highly and demonstrate that inner city children can learn. We must encourage and support these schools with enhanced tax credits and workable standards and monitoring regimes.
2013 can be the year that New York State says to the world, “we are open for business.” The Republican Party is ready to help make it happen!