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Watchdog group says New York has highest state and local tax burden

ALBANY – New York has retained its place as the state with the highest combined state and local tax burden, a tax watchdog group reported on Wednesday in an annual study.

The Tax Foundation, a conservative fiscal group, said 12.7 percent of state income went to a hodgepodge of state and local taxes in New York in 2012.

The level kept New York where it was the previous two years: the state with the worst burden for state and local taxes on its residents.

The good news is that the tax burden in New York stayed flat between 2011 and 2012 at 12.7 percent, and down from 13 percent from 2010.

The good news – taken in perspective – is that the nation’s average tax burden for all 50 states has fallen each year from 10.4 percent in 2010 to 9.9 percent in 2012.

The taxes examined in the report include income, property, sales, excise levies on everything from beer to cigarettes, estate taxes and corporate income.

New York was followed by Connecticut and New Jersey, which over the years have been in the top – or worst – three spots, sometimes trading the No. 1 position.

“This may be partially attributed to high expenditure levels, which must be sustained by high levels of revenue,” the report said.

Rounding out the top five in highest tax burden were Wisconsin and Illinois.

At the bottom were Alaska, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. The 6.5 percent tax burden level in Alaska is thrown off a bit by the amount it collects on non-residents for oil drilling taxes. Texas, a state bigger than New York, had an overall state and local tax burden of 7.6 percent as a share of state income.

In New York in 2012, the group said the state and local tax burden per capita stood at $6,993. That compares to a national average for all 50 states of $4,420 per capita.