December 7, 2011

A Victory for Middle-Class Families,
A Victory for Fairness

Many months ago, we began to urge our colleagues in state government to stop the millionaire tax break set to take effect at the end of the year. We called for the restoration of fairness in our tax code and argued continuously that people who make $50,000 annually should NOT be paying the same tax rate as those who earn one hundred times more.

In May, we introduced legislation to extend for one year, the current tax rate for millionaires filing taxes in New York State. Such an action, we said, would generate billions of dollars in revenue that could be used to create jobs, improve our schools, and provide basic health care services to our uninsured. These desperately needed funds would guarantee that the next state budget would not be balanced on the backs of working families.

Despite powerful and unrelenting opposition to our proposal, we carried our message throughout the state; never losing hope that fairness, equity and common sense would ultimately prevail in these times when working families are struggling to make ends meet.

The bipartisan agreement reached by the Legislature and the Governor is a huge victory for working New Yorkers. It requires millionaires and billionaires to share in the fiscal sacrifice, provides much-needed tax relief to low- and middle-income families, closes the budget gap, honors our commitment to provide a sound basic education to our children and quality care to our infirmed, and gives the state essential funding for infrastructure projects that will create jobs.

The new tax code includes an annual middle-class tax relief worth $690 million in each of the next three years. Overall, some 4.4 million taxpayers - more than 99 percent of all filers- will benefit from a tax cut thanks to this agreement.

On behalf of the Assembly Majority, I applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership and his commitment to fairness. Likewise, I commend our colleagues in the Senate for their bipartisan support of this critical measure.

Together, we are advancing a plan that will spur job creation, make our tax code fairer, and give the state budget a sound foundation on which to build.

This agreement is a victory for middle-class families and for all working New Yorkers. It is a major victory for fairness.