By Joe Spector, Gannett Albany
New York may be open for business, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo touts, but a report Tuesday ranked New York as the worst in the nation for its business tax climate.
The annual report by the Tax Foundation, a national group based in Washington D.C., found that New York's tax climate trails the rest of the country. Last year, it was 49th, just ahead of New Jersey. Now New York fell behind New Jersey, which ranked 49th in the country, the group said.
"Despite moderate corporate taxes, New York scores at the bottom this year by having the worst individual income tax, the sixth-worst unemployment insurance taxes, and the sixth-worst property taxes," the group said in a statement. "The states in the bottom 10 suffer from the same afflictions: complex, non-neutral taxes with comparatively high rates."
The group's State Business Tax Climate Index collects data on more than 100 tax provisions for each state. The top states for business tax climate were Wyoming, South Dakota and Nevada. Those states have no corporate or individual income tax.
Maine improved its business climate the most of any state, the group said, moving 37 last year to 30 this year.
"Even in our global economy, a state's strongest and most immediate competition often comes from other states," said Tax Foundation economist Scott Drenkard in a statement. "State lawmakers need to be aware of how their states' business climates match up to their immediate neighbors and to other states in their region."
The group has consistently found New York as the worst in terms of taxes, both income and property taxes. Westchester County ranks first in the nation in property taxes, the group has found, while upstate counties, including Monroe and Wayne, have the highest property taxes compared to home values.
Cuomo has sought to rebuild the state's business climate, developing an "Open for Business" campaign and implementing a property-tax cap. Last year, the Democratic governor and the state Legislature agreed to slightly lower income taxes on the middle class and keep higher taxes on the wealthy-although taxes on the rich dropped from prior tax rates.