NEWS BLOG (WSAU) I let out a big laugh during Thursday’s ESPN football broadcast. It had nothing to do with the Packers, who looked largely inept and pathetic. I found one of the commercials to be absurd. New York State is running an ad campaign to try to attract businesses to the state. The commercial shows pictures of a farm, railroad tracks, and the New York City skyline. A voice-over from Governor Andrew Cuomo says, “some people say we’d lost our edge.”
Only a sucker would open a business in New York. It’s in a race to the bottom with Illinois and California. I used to work there. My father’s company was inNew York. He’d tell you one of his mistakes was not moving his business to Connecticut when our family moved to the suburbs.
New York State has one of the highest income taxes in the county. It’s the only state where cities can also levy their own income tax. (Two do – New York City and Yonkers.) Because many people commute from New Jersey or Connecticut, New York also has a commuter tax. You pay it when you buy your monthly train ticket. For those who drive, you pay it as part of your income tax.
New York taxes out-of-state entertainers and athletes who perform in-state. If Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakes plays two games at Madison Square Garden or if Elton John plays a concert there, New York State pro-rates their income and sends a tax bill. (This is one of the reasons why Rush Limbaugh’s radio show now originates from Florida instead of Manhattan.) New York also has the most expensive Medicaid systems in the country, and has the second-most under-funded government pensions. The highway toll for using the Lincoln Tunnel to enter Manhattan is now $12.
Just how un-business-friendly is New York? Many years ago my father caught one of his employees stealing. The worker was seen, red-handed, taking money from the petty cash box. He was fired on the spot. A week later the ex-employee had the nerve to file for unemployment benefits. A court hearing was scheduled… and unemployment, which the company pays half of, was approved. My father complained loudly to the hearing officer. “He’s a thief! He’s going to get an unemployment check for stealing?” Yes… because if the fired worker was turned down for unemployment he’d go on welfare – where he’d qualify for taxpayer funded housing and health care for years.
Many years ago when I lived on Long Island someone with a mischievous sense of humor would hang a banner from the overpasses on the Long Island Expressway. “New York– Get Out While You Still Can.” State police would scramble to take those banners down, only to have another one appear somewhere else the next morning. That advertising was more truthful than the commercials I saw last night.