Leave it to the D&C to let conservative operatives move their message with zero in the way of critical questioning. Although the Empire Center for NYS Policy is correct to point out that jobs are leaving New York, the right wing think tank’s policy recommendations are the usual conservative boilerplate and make little sense.
Why do businesses relocate? There is little mystery about that. Study after study shows that businesses center their relocation decisions around several factors, primarily the productivity of the workforce, the regional infrastructure and proximity to markets, and energy costs. Taxes are not a major factor and don’t usually make the list. Any serious job creation recommendations for New York would address these factors by focusing on investment in infrastructure, training workers and pioneering cheaper energy strategies.
Nevertheless the Empire Center’s recommendations is entirely fixated on taxes, including a call to cut the estate tax and to sunset the temporary income tax on wealthy NYer’s. The report points out that businesses have left New York for New Jersey but neglects to mention that New Jersey has had higher income taxes than New York (and currently they are the same). So, one can assume taxes aren’t the reason businesses are leaving for New Jersey.
Moreover, the conversation around the connection between taxes on the wealthy and small business job creation needs to at least include some mention of basic facts. Certainly it would be important to point out that the vast majority of small business owners earn less than $250,000. In fact less than 3% of small business owners in New York earn more than that. And we should probably be curious about how much actual tax we’re talking about? Is the extra tax enough to cause a small business owner to fire somebody? Well, we’re talking about a few hundred dollars. Seriously? You’re going to fire somebody because you own a small business, earn more that $250,000 a year and just paid a few hundred extra dollars a year in taxes?
But the stock “lower the taxes on the wealthy” recommendations of the Empire Center shouldn’t surprise anybody. This is the usual neoliberal shock therapy prescription – identify a problem, ignore the real underlying problems and suggest lowering taxes on the wealthy.
The Empire Center is a project of the Manhattan Institute, currently funded by the Koch brothers, the billionaires providing the funding for the creation of the Tea Party movement. The Manhattan Institute is the past home of right wing luminaries as Charles Murray, who in The Bell Curve essentially informed readers that Blacks and Latinos are genetically inferior to whites. The Manhattan institute has also been recipient of large contributions from the tobacco industry and a quick check of the board of directors reveals a who’s who of Wall Street executives.No tag for this post.