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NEW YORK LEADS NATION IN STATE, LOCAL TAXES

New Yorkers still pay the highest combined state and local taxes in the country, according to a new publication released by the Albany-based Public Policy Institute.

State residents paid an average of $4,905 in state and local taxes last year, almost $1,700 above the national average, according to the Public Policy Institute.

The think tank of the Business Council of New York, a business lobbying group, has released a publication called "Just The Facts: Key Economic and Social Indicators for New York State."

The booklet includes 48 tables ranking New York with other states on various indicators including job growth, energy consumption, graduation rates and the percentage of households with computers.

"We're trying to keep the political debate in New York focused on the economy and this is an attempt to see how we're doing economically and in some of the other key social indicators," said Robert Ward, director of research for the Public Policy Institute.

The organization typically publishes the "report card" every other year.

The high per capita taxes are primarily driven by local property taxes which are a "major competitive problem," according to the Public Policy Institute.

Governments in New York collect about $25 billion in property taxes, with 58 percent of the total collected as school taxes.

The fact book can be located on the Internet at www.ppinys.org/Reports/jtf/contents.htm

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