Archive for the ‘Finances’ Category

A Radical Plan for Upstate Taxes


Argh, taxes. The subject comes up over and over from our readers, though mostly they’re talking — and wondering and whining — about property taxes: why are they so high, where are they lowest, how can we tell what they really are versus what’s advertised (short answer to the latter: your town assessor’s office)?

One group thinks that other taxes — income, sales, corporate franchise — are the real problem. All those must be lowered, says the pro-business group Unshackle Upstate, in order for upstate to thrive. “That is why we proposed our ‘New ERA for Upstate’ plan,” they wrote in an op-ed in the Albany Times-Union. “We are urging lawmakers to provide broad-based tax relief to people in economically distressed areas.

“The plan calls for lowering the income tax rate for low and middle income workers; eliminating the corporate franchise tax; ending the energy ‘surcharge’ on manufacturers; reducing state sales tax in the upstate counties that suffer the most economically; and safely extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.”

Well, some of those things aren’t people — like corporate franchises — and we’re not sure what will replace the money from the tax breaks. But I’m sure upstaters would welcome a tax reduction. Yet certainly some businesses are thriving upstate, and their tax dollars are welcome. For proof, check out this New Yorker article about Chobani’s upstate yogurt kingdom.

Category: Finances

By: lisa | 21 November 2013 01:00 PM | 1 Comment

How About a Relocation Program for Downstate Businesses?

photo by Gerry Dincher/Flickr/Creative Commons

photo by Gerry Dincher/Flickr/Creative Commons

Here’s a great comment from one of our readers, based on our post about unaffordability in the Hudson Valley.

“I’ve always dreamed the State might come up with an industrial relocation plan that would incentivize existing businesses to move upstate to depressed cities with lots of space (think Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Athens, Schenectady, Utica, Rome…) where jobs are needed (like Brooklyn Brewery has done) and free up space in the city for more housing development.”

So, yeah. Right on. Exactly. State? Are you listening?

Category: Finances

By: lisa | 4 October 2013 02:00 PM | No Comments

Is Homeownership Out of Reach in the Hudson Valley?


We keep this blog going in part because we believe that affordable housing (and by that we mean housing that people of regular old means can afford) is a mission. It’s a need that can’t really be met within New York City, and so we scour the Hudson Valley and the Catskills to find homes that do meet our criteria. And, usually, there are lots of them. (Not that we have anything against luxurious homes — we look at those, too!)

So we were a bit confused to read this news story about a report called “Housing in the Hudson Valley: American Dream Revised,” compiled by  the Center for Housing Solutions at Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress. “Among its findings was a precipitous decline in home mortgage applications in the Hudson Valley,” writes the Hudson Valley Reporter. “…conventional mortgage applications dropped 80 percent between 2005 and 2011. The report revealed that would-be homeowners submitted 30,327 mortgage applications in 2005 and that number dropped to 5,909 in 2011.”

Well, not a total shocker. There was that little thing called the Great Recession in there. Might have been more instructive to find out if they’re on the up and up again now that we are, apparently, coming back from the brink. The conclusion of the authors is that we need to improve our inventory of rental housing to make up for the mortgage decline.

Category: Finances, Tourism, upstate new york

By: lisa | 27 September 2013 01:00 PM | 3 Comments

Another Report on Climbing Prices



Just to continue lighting a fire under your bellies, and to encourage many of you to join us in lamenting that we didn’t snatch up real estate at the bottom of the market, we offer you this report from the FNC Residential Price Index:

“(RPI) shows that U.S. home prices continue to climb higher, rising 0.7% in July. The index is reaching a three-year high as the housing recovery continues. The rapid declines in foreclosure sales and new foreclosure filings have diminished the impact of distressed properties on home prices. Meanwhile, steadily rising home prices and an expectation of continued recovery have stimulated housing turnover by prospective buyers who are in a position to take advantage of affordable home prices.”

Foreclosure sales, they say, “are approaching the pre-crisis levels.” Is it good or bad that we’re getting back to pre-crisis days? We’re not sure we’ve addressed the problems that led to the crisis in the first place!

Category: Finances

By: lisa | 17 September 2013 01:00 PM | No Comments