County Tax Burden Listed Among Lowest In State

A study released recently shows Chautauqua County as having the sixth lowest tax burden in the state.

It might sound good, but New York state remains one of the worst when it comes to tax rates in the country, according to a different study.

A report by SmartAsset examined the tax burden by county in New York by calculating the amount of money a person would pay in income, sales, property and fuel taxes. The study found the normal person in the county pays $10,399 in income tax, $1,118 in sales tax, $2,371 in property tax and $438 in fuel tax.

Only Chenango, Lewis, Saint Lawrence, Hamilton and Franklin counties were better than Chautauqua County. Erie and Cattaraugus counties weren’t listed in the top 10.

A separate study examining tax rates by state showed New York at the bottom, however. The state was listed as 48 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The study by WalletHub showed a 13 percent total state and local tax rate in New York on the median household. That translates to $7,370 in state and local taxes paid.

One of the biggest drivers in state expenses is health care and Medicaid. In Chautauqua County, Medicaid alone accounts for almost 50 percent — or roughly $30 million — of the tax levy.

While health care costs still plague counties, Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown, said state lawmakers phased the growth rate to local governments over a three-year period to zero.

“There’s been no increase in Medicaid costs for county governments across the state, which has saved them in excess of $1 billion,” he said. “When the state assumed all increased costs in Medicaid, a reform program was put into place to reign them in.”

On a state tax level, Goodell said income tax rates were reduced for almost everyone except the wealthy. Utility and business taxes were also cut, but Goodell said there’s still a long ways to making the state less burdensome.

Comparing New York to other states, Goodell said it’s not easy to evaluate given the different mix of tax revenues that some receive.

“Some rely more on sales tax than property tax. Others rely on estate tax,” he said. “If you want to know which states are most taxed, look at the expense side. In New York, health care is our biggest expense, and it’s higher than California even though they have more people.”