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Michael Miller

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By Michael Miller
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More Fun With Numbers

11: The number of manufacturing companies within the circulation areas of the 18 Anton Community Newspapers in which workers have lost jobs as a result of shifts in production outside the United States (2005-2010). These firms are certified for federal Trade Adjustment Assistance to provide reemployment services for workers or direct financial aid for projects that improve competitiveness. These companies are located in: Farmingdale (4); Glen Cove (2); Hicksville (2); Jericho; Roslyn Heights; Port Washington. There are no walls around Long Island.

54 Percent: That’s how much the increase in middle-class incomes has lagged behind the increase in work productivity over the past 30 years, according to the Tax Foundation, a conservative think tank. This is why regressive taxes like the property tax and the sales tax hit middle-income families harder and harder. The incomes of two-thirds of Americans have stagnated, and the tax burden at all levels of government has been shifting.

272: That’s the number of municipalities surveyed by the National League of Cities about planned budget cuts. Across America, city revenues in 2011 will fall for the fifth consecutive year, with more declines in 2012 and 2013. Here are the most common planned actions: Cutting personnel (72 percent); delaying infrastructure repairs (60 percent); cuts in specific services, including libraries and parks (42 percent); increasing service and user fees (41 percent); reducing or modifying employee health care benefits (36 percent); across the board cuts (24 percent); cuts to police, fire and other public safety programs (19 percent).

15,073: That’s the average cost in dollars of employer-provided family health insurance for a family of four, according to the latest annual study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, an increase of just over nine percent. Over ten years the cost of this type of insurance has risen 113 percent, compared to a 34 percent increase in national wages and 27 percent inflation over that time. Employers pay more toward insurance than employees, but employee contributions are increasing faster (131 percent over ten years).    

3.4 Percent: That’s the increase in total taxation by all New York school districts between last school year and this school year. Budgeted spending, including revenue from all sources, has increased 1.2 percent.

59: That’s how many dollars a month my cable-internet-phone provider just jacked up my monthly bill. That’s an increase of 37.1 percent in a go and 54.6 percent since 2010. This is the same company whose newspaper lectures us about the necessity of two percent tax caps.

10 million: That’s at least how many dollars the mysterious Committee to Save New York spent on advertisements and lobbying in support of Governor Cuomo and his budget proposals in 2011.

5.7 Percent: That’s the decrease in how much New York State collected in personal income taxes between Fiscal Years 2009 ($36.84 billion) and 2010 ($34.75 billion). Total state revenues from taxes decreased by over $3.1 billion.

23.6 Percent: That’s the effective tax cut for New Yorkers earning $500,000 or more when the top income tax rates sunset away after December. It is estimated that the loss of these temporary rates, enacted two years ago, will reduce state revenues by $350 million.

81 Percent: That’s how much profits for the 500 largest corporations increased in 2010.

1.7 Billion: That’s how many dollars were added to the net wealth of Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, according to Fortune’s recently published list of the 400 “Richest People in America.” Despite these gains, Brin and Page actually slipped five spots in the rankings. Between January 1 and August 26, the combined wealth of the Fortune 400 increased 12 percent.

8.9 Percent: That’s the percentage of federal revenue paid by corporations, down from the 27.3 percent of revenue in 1955, the apex of the American Age. During that same period, the percentage of federal revenues from individual and payroll taxes increased from 58.0 percent to 81.5 percent.

63 Percent: That’s how much of New York State’s tax revenues come from individual income taxes, up from 50 percent 30 years ago.

Zero: This is how much too many of our decision makers really want to fix any of this. Nothing is broken. We’re on a course correction to put things back the way they’re supposed to be. Aren’t we?

Michael Miller is a freelance writer, designer and strategic consultant who has worked in state and local government. Email: millercolumn@optimum.net