Why New York gets less from Washington than it sends

ALBANY - New Yorkers send more than $40 billion a year more to Washington than they get back, according to a pair of new studies that come as the state faces steep federal cuts.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued an analysis Tuesday showing New York got 84 cents back in federal spending and services for every tax dollar sent to Washington, which worked out to $40.9 billion gap in 2016.


The gap more than doubled since the 2013 federal fiscal year, when it was about $20 billion, according to DiNapoli's analysis.

A separate report last week, funded by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration and authored by the Rockefeller Institute for Government, pegged the gap at about $48 billion in 2015, using a slightly different methodology.

The reports were issued as Cuomo, a Democrat, battles with President Donald Trump's administration and the Republican-led Congress over health-care reform, hospital funding and a potential tax-code overhaul.

Those debates could result in significant cuts in federal aid to high-tax states, which Cuomo has likened to a "missile" headed for New York.

"Federal decision makers should consider this imbalance as they debate proposed budget and policy changes that could significantly impact New York and other states," DiNapoli said in a statement.

Cuomo and New York officials are currently battling Trump's proposal to repeal the state and local tax deduction, which allows residents to write off their state income and local property taxes on their federal tax returns.

That proposal, which would be offset in part in Trump's plan by an increase in the standardized deduction, would disproportionately affect states with high state and local taxes, like New York.

On Tuesday, Cuomo held a news conference in Manhattan to push back against Trump's tax plan, as well as a cut to funding for hospitals that provide services to a disproportionate share of low-income individuals, including the Westchester County Medical Center.

The hospital cut has been on the books since 2010 and took effect Sunday. It would result in an estimated $330 million cut in federal aid to New York over the next year unless it's restored, according to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

"It hits New York state harder than any state in the country, the amount of federal (aid) to New York," said Cuomo, who suggested state lawmakers may have to return to the state Capitol to deal with the cut unless Congress restores it.

DiNapoli's report found New York taxpayers contributed about $12,914 in taxes per capita to Washington in 2016, which is about 36 percent more than the national average of $9,476.

The state got back about $10,844 per capita, leaving a gap of $2,070 — trailing only New Jersey, North Dakota and Connecticut.

The overall size of the gap is by far the largest in the nation, according to the Rockefeller Institute report. In 2015, the state's $48 billion gap was about equal to the second (New Jersey) and third (Illinois) states combined.

Trump's tax plan could have a "double-whammy

"These facts are important for policymakers to consider as any (tax) proposal moves forward," Rockefeller Institute President Jim Malatras, a former top Cuomo aide, said in a statement.

New York's state government, meanwhile, has long faced similar criticism from New York City, which has contributed far more in state taxes than it receives back from Albany.

In the state's 2009-10 fiscal year, for example, New York City paid more than $4 billion more in taxes to the state than it got back in spending from Albany, according to a 2011 Rockefeller Institute report.

That funding went to upstate regions in the Hudson Valley and along the Thruway corridor, the study found.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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