Your current web browser is outdated. For best viewing experience, please consider upgrading to the latest version.

Donation - Other Level

Please use the quantity box to donate any amount you wish. Sign Up to Donate


Send a question or comment using the form below. This message may be routed through support staff.

Email Article

Password Reset Request


Add a topic or expert to your feed.


Follow Experts & Topics

Stay on top of our work by selecting topics and experts of interest.

On The Ground
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed

Manhattan Institute

Close Nav

Campaign 2000 Tax Proposals: What They Mean for New Yorkers


Campaign 2000 Tax Proposals: What They Mean for New Yorkers

October 1, 2000

Tax cuts emerged as a major issue early in the 2000 Presidential campaign, with George W. Bush and Al Gore each emphasizing the savings he would deliver to middle-class taxpayers. Tax policy is also a sharp point of contention in New York’s Senate race, where Rick Lazio and Hillary Clinton have sparred over whether large scale tax relief is either desirable or affordable.

This is an especially important question for New York State, which bears a disproportionately heavy share of the nation’s income tax burden. New York remains second only to California in federal income tax payments, in both absolute and relative terms, even though it has lost population, jobs, businesses, and political influence to other, faster-growing states over the past two decades. New York State’s 18 million residents generate more federal income tax revenue than 19 million Texans; in fact, New Yorkers pay more income taxes than residents of Ohio and Pennsylvania combined. The Empire State’s heavy federal income tax burden—23 percent above the national per-capita average—contributes to its persistent imbalance of payments with the federal government.1


New York families, in particular, have a great deal at stake in the tax cut competition. Many of them earn more than the national family median income—at least 50 percent more in New York City’s suburban counties—but that does not mean they are living any better. In addition to their high federal tax burden, New Yorkers bear one of the highest combined state and local tax burdens in the country.2 Factor in the cost of living, and it’s easy to see why New York’s middle class, particularly in the City and its suburbs, feels just as squeezed as families in other states.

The candidates do not simply differ in the details of their plans: they offer totally different philosophies on how best to cut taxes. Governor Bush’s plan relies on cutting tax rates for every taxpayer. In contrast, the Vice President opposes across-the-board rate cuts because they drive benefits to “the wealthy.” Instead, he and and Mrs. Clinton both offer low- and middle-class families a series of targeted tax credits, which can be claimed only by families that behave in certain ways and have incomes below specified levels.

Which approach—cutting tax rates or providing income-targeted tax credits—would give more tax relief to New York State as a whole? And which is better for the individuals and families that work, live and pay taxes in New York?