Reclaim New York

New Report Declares Affordability Crisis in Cortland, & the Southern Tier

Posted by  //  February 13, 2017  //  News

A non-partisan, non-profit group named Reclaim New York released a new study this week that finds taxes, and the cost of living in the Southern Tier, are keeping local families struggling to make ends meet.

The report, which covers seven counties including Cortland shows locals how much they have left after paying the combined burden of income, property, sales, and excise taxes, along with basic expenses like transportation.

The group calls these combined costs “Wake-Up Costs”, and their report says they are causing an affordability crisis. For Cortland City, the report shows a family of four left with just $2,212 after those “Wake-Up Costs” take a big chunk out of their median $45,000 annual income.

“When you’re working hard, but you’re left with a fraction of your annual earnings, or maybe even have to take on debt, that is a crisis,” said Brandon Muir, Reclaim’s Executive Director. “The worst part is that our own governments, from Albany on down, are throwing these costs at us through taxes and regulations that are some of the worst in the country.”

Reclaim released the study and held an event where over 60 local citizens listened to a presentation on the findings. The group also urged residents to stay involved, and work towards fixing these problems by taking ownership of their government.

Reclaim will be at the Cortland County Auditorium on March 2 for a similar event, with details available on the group’s website.

A review of the study’s findings paints a rough picture for Cortland’s middle-class families.

In the Village of McGraw, the median family the report examined earns more, $60,545. But, at that income level they own a home. The additional expenses of home-ownership leave them with just 3 percent of their annual earnings after paying their taxes and expenses.

Reclaim’s report looks at higher income earners as well, and recent graduates.

Even at double the median income for Homer, a family earning over $100,000 per year watches 95 percent of that go to “Wake-Up Costs”. And the report showed a recent college graduate in Cortland will only have 16 percent left over.

“College graduates lucky enough to find a job in the Southern Tier are hit with a hefty burden if they choose to stay. For too many, the bad economy means they don’t even have that choice,” said Muir. “The affordability crisis is a big reason for this, our state’s not competitive, and we’re not giving people the chance to build a future here right now.”


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