Stupid finance articles that don’t provide an accurate picture of what is really going on in America.


I saw this in a Yahoo News article this morning:

It was talking about the worst states for taxes and of course, New York topped the list.  The figures they quoted were:

Top State Income Tax Rate: 8.82 percent
Sales tax: 4 percent
Property taxes per capita: $2,280

These numbers are completely misleading.  Yes the state sales tax may be 4% but when combined with the city sales tax, it’s significantly higher.  For New York City, there’s a website that breaks it down and talks about how different consumer goods are taxed.

Take a look at these samples of city sales tax:

New York City– 8.875%

Buffalo – 8.75%

Congers – 8.375%

Ithaca – 8%

Liberty – 8%

Lake Placid – 8%

Greenburgh – 7.375%

Saratoga Springs– 7%

From this sampling and looking through lists of sales tax by city at this website, it’s plain to see that most of New York State is hovering around 8% sales tax.

Looking at New York State income tax rates for someone making $40,000 as a single filer, the taxed owed is $2,256.  Assuming all $40K is taxable income, that would give a rate of 5.64%  This seems like an awfully high percentage for someone making a less-than-middleclass salary (and yes, I understand that tax is calculated in brackets and the higher percentage rates only apply to the amount of income over the lower bracket).

lego home

Now on to property taxes.  Oh boy.  As a resident of New York, I know for a fact exactly what some of my neighbors are paying in property taxes.  Most are average middle class people with reasonably sized homes (no McMansions) who are pay between $8000 and $10,000 a year in property taxes for a moderately-sized  family home on 1 acre of land (2-3 bedrooms with parents and two children).  What is even harder to believe is that this amount is considered LOW for the area we live in.  When taking to the local assessor’s office, many of them have been told to suck it up and forget about a tax grievance because “Have you seen what your neighbor with the newly constructed McMansion is paying?!?!?  Stop complaining.”  I’ve heard that new construction in the area is often upwards of $15,000 a year in property taxes.

It really frustrates me that no one is reporting the facts of just how much people are losing from their hard-won salaries to try to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.  What also bothers me is all the reports about the numbers of unemployed.  My parents always told me: whatever the reported percentage of unemployment or number of jobless, DOUBLE that number.  The jobless rates reported are only taken from the people receiving unemployment benefits so it will never capture people who are unemployed but no longer eligible for unemployment benefits, people who were in jobs that didn’t qualify them for unemployment when the job ended, or they are working but so under-employed (a day or two a week, working sporadically) that their income is negligible.

The reality is so much grimmer than is even being discussed and I can’t believe that articles like this pass for factual news.