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Taxing times

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We in Queens as well as those in the entire state of New York should seriously being addressing the issue of taxes. Let's look at some very interesting facts. New York state maintains the highest burden of taxes, with nearly 13 percent of all income going to both the state and local governments.

That's an excellent way of our losing much of our businesses and residents to nearby competitors. And let's look at those competitors. While we rank first, Connecticut ranks ninth, New Jersey ranks 15th, and Pennsylvania is 35th. Even Massachusetts is at a comfortable 36th.

Being higher in cost can be tolerated, but for how long with such a large disparity? Why are our New York politicians scratching their heads and wondering why many distribution and manufacturing companies are moving to our nearby neighboring states such as Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Jersey?

Our very own Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proven to have business expertise in his pre-election years, but one really begins to wonder if he was out to lunch in his sharp increase to property taxes last year. Now he is offering a tax rebate to that increase, which - would you believe - will be taxable.

Let's make a list of some of the many other household-name taxes: building permits, capital gains, cigarettes, corporate income, federal income, federal unemployment, gasoline, liquor, local income, luxury, marriage license, Medicare, property, real estate, Social Security, state and city sales taxes, state income, toll bridges, utility and workers' compensation taxes, just to name a few.

And there are many more. If you'd like to know what they are I would be very happy to e-mail a listing to you.

So how's business for government taxes? What I find most interesting is this: Not one of these taxes existed in the entire United States just 100 years ago.

At that time we were the most prosperous country in the world. We had no national debt, maintained the largest middle class in the world and Mom actually stayed home with the kids, maintaining a strong and solid family unit with a far lower crime rate than that of today. What has changed?

Joe Palumbo is the fund manager of The Palco Group Inc., an investment company, and can be reached at palcogroup@aol.com or 718-461-8317.

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