It is an outrage that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is spending up to $140 million of taxpayer money and funds received for disaster relief, to publicize the advantages of conducting business in New York. New York is indisputably one of the most unfriendly business states, with a Legislature that piles huge administrative burdens onto businesses and a Department of Taxation that is among the most aggressive in the country.
Thanks to the NY Legislature, the state demands a payment of an LLC fee every Jan. 30, causing large administrative burdens disproportionate to a small amount of additional tax revenue. It also requires a high minimum-wage, creating an unnecessary and expensive burden on small businesses.
The state also introduced a brand new “MTA” tax with new forms to fill out as a separate levy, simply because they did not want to take the heat for raising existing rates. When a huge outcry against this ridiculous tax was made, the state's "fix" was to exempt some lower income businesses while making the complications for the remaining businesses even worse.
New York State recently created a new burden on all employers requiring every employer to make specific annual reports to each of its employees in significant detail, a provision clearly intended more to provide fodder for employer lawsuits than to protect the rights of workers. As long as Sheldon Silver continues as Speaker of the NYS Assembly (and a current partner in an anti-business civil litigation law firm), the legislature will continue to make it inordinately difficult to carry on with business in New York. It should be noted that some well known restaurant organizations have sworn never to open any new facilities in New York State, specifically due to its impossible and litigation-friendly business environment.
The Legislature continues to add the latest nanny state employment regulations each year, making New York a gold mine for lawyers to sue employers over technicalities. Its insistence on giving enormous amounts to its public-service unions guarantees that the tax burden will keep growing in the years ahead. And New York has the "only one in the world” statute (called the Triborough Amendment) -- that requires the state to continue paying its public service employees on the items contained within an expired contract -- making it impossible to negotiate any austerity.
The New York Department of Taxation is no better, as it ruthlessly goes after extra New York City taxes paid by state residents and New York state taxes paid by non-New York state residents. It demands huge and automatic penalties built into tax law on each assessment, penalties that are used as levers to get the New York taxpayer or business owner to agree to compromises that they often don't really owe.
One anecdote that encapsulates this mentality is the individual who lived with his family out-of-state. He bought a home for his elderly parents in Staten Island and was successfully taxed as a NY City resident. The state's determination? He had a key to the front door, and a few items of clothing in the closet!
Clearly, for the average person in New York, it is an onerous state in which to do business. If Mr. Cuomo wants to create a better business image, he must make the state a better and more business-friendly place from the ground up. Instead of trying to deceive people with taxpayer funded propaganda into thinking that New York has a healthy business climate, use that $140 million to reform his deplorable Legislature and Department of Taxation. Any non-NY business that falls for Gov. Cuomo’s propaganda campaign gets what it deserves.
This, from the guy who is a possible contender for 2016.