Updated: 02/12/2014 6:05 AM
Created: 02/07/2014 9:34 AM WHEC.com
Since we started our New York State Exposed series, we’ve received an incredible amount of feedback from you. Many have told us these stories are critical to protect the place we call home while some others feel we’re being too hard on our home.
We want to give you a behind the scenes look at this series, why we do it and what’s still to come. I’m sure you’re going to find that while we all may have different opinions - one thing is certain, together we share the same hope for the future and pride in this place we call home.
You would be hard pressed to find someone in our area who doesn’t feel that Rochester is a great place to live, work, play, and raise a family. All of us at News10NBC agree as this is our home too.
But in spite of all the wonderful things our area has to offer, too many of you tell us that you simply can’t afford the high taxes anymore and it’s driving people and businesses away. Sometimes at an alarming rate.
So our team decided to dig in, ask the questions you want answers to and see where the story leads.
It’s no surprise New Yorkers feel as frustrated as they do. Take the report just released from the Fiscal Times concluding, "The Empire State takes the prize in 2014 as the worst state for taxes." Findings like that may be in part why more personal income and more people are fleeing here faster than any other state.
New business and jobs certainly would be a boost for our area and New York is touting that it's open for business but we learned that may not be the case. The Tax Foundation finds that New York actually has the Worst Business Tax Climate of all the 50 states. We discovered a law, unique to New York, that business owners say is costing us all.
These stories put New York in a bad light which none of us like to see. Certainly all of us want our state to thrive, to be a place where our children and grandchildren can afford to stay if they choose.
But look what else we found when we started digging -- cell phone taxes, electricity rates and gas taxes all are some of the highest in the nation. Property taxes, bottle deposit laws, income taxes, yearly vehicle inspections, vehicle registrations and Thruway tolls – some states may give you a break in some of these areas. In New York, we get them all.
And sometimes the taxes here are disguised as fees. Plan on dying? In New York there’s a fee for that.
Finally, there are a couple stories we uncovered that really got viewers fired up. The first is one of New York’s entitlements which in part lead Forbes to call New York a “Death Spiral” state.
Another story that brings out passionate opinions from both sides is the Safe Act. While it’s hard to find concrete numbers, we did learn that according to the Rochester Police Department, shootings were up in 2013 and 52 out of 62 counties passed resolutions opposing the Safe Act. What is certain is that both sides want safer streets.
What about the people we’ve elected to run our state? The people, who we discovered, are the third highest paid legislature in the country. That didn’t sit well with many of you.
Are you getting your money’s worth? That’s your call.
Our job is to make sure our politicians are doing what they say they will do. With your suggestions and with some lawmakers pledging new bills to ease the tax burden, we’re hopeful that together we’ll see results.
We want to continue to hear from you no matter where you stand on the issues. It’s not about parties or politics as usual, instead it’s about building a better tomorrow.
That’s why we’ll continue to stay on these stories so that you will have the power to make better decisions. After all, like you, we share that same pride and hope for a better future in this incredible place we all call home.
If you want to make your voice heard we’re here to help. You can email us at NewYorkStateExpose@whec.com or call the hotline at 627-2610. Plus, we’ve added some important links to help you get informed and involved.