Fifty States in Fifty Weeks: New York

January 25, 2013

Each week this year (with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas) we will examine the fiscal and economic health of one of the U.S. states. Our fifth state in this series is New York. Here are the top five things (or more) you need to know about the Empire State:

  1. Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented his 2013 budget this week. In a clever move to make the state’s finances seem a little better, in a power point outlining his plan, the governor misplaced a decimal point so instead of showing a $1.3 billion deficit (what the state truly faces today) the slide showed a $13 billion deficit. The governor quipped, “I just wanted to make sure you guys were paying attention.” Whether $13 billion or $1.3 billion … not funny.
  2. Big time. The term “the Big Apple” was coined by musicians who meant to say that playing in New York meant they had made it to the big time. New York lawmakers are big time spenders too: $6,654 per person, New York is one of the top 15 states in terms of per capita spending.
  3. While New York City’s economy is bigger than the economies of either Mexico, South Korea or Indonesia, New York state’s economy hasn’t had it easy the last few years. The state’s current unemployment rate is 8.2 percent, higher than the national average. That rate is nearly double what it was before the recession. In 2011, New York’s economy grew 1.1 percent, the 27th highest growth rate in the country.
  4. New York might not currently have the worst growth or unemployment rate, but according to the American Legislative Exchange Council, with some of the highest tax rates in the nation, New York has the worst economic outlook ranking for the country. (At 12.7 percent, New York’s top marginal personal income tax rate is the highest in the nation; at 15.95 percent its to marginal corporate income tax rate is the second highest in the nation.)
  5. New York has a AA S&P bond rating – a rating that is worse than most other states in the country. New York’s total state debt is between 25 percent and 30 percent of its gross state product.


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