Despite a sluggish economy, a shrinking middle class and a wealth gap that grows wider every year, the richest New Yorkers are actually set to receive a tax break from the state at the end of this year.
If the proposed tax break for millionaires goes into effect as scheduled at the end of the year, New York’s wealthiest would once again share the same tax bracket as individuals making $20,000 per year, or a family of four making $40,000. This tax break will give millionaires an annual average savings of $85,450.
Someone has to stand up and say this isn’t right. That’s why the Assembly introduced legislation that would stop this millionaire tax cut and continue the tax rate millionaires are currently paying until Dec. 31, 2012 (A.7802). The Assembly’s proposal will affect less than 1 percent of taxpayers – of which 50 percent are not residents of New York State. Of those New Yorkers affected, just over half live in New York City. I simply can’t sit by as we give a special handout to multi-millionaires and billionaires, while average families, hospitals, schools and our children’s educational futures are in jeopardy.
Millionaires in our state neither need nor deserve a tax break. They have already benefited from the extension of the Bush-era federal tax cut, which gives millionaires an average benefit of $128,832 per year.i Moreover, news outlets across the country reported this month that after three years, the average CEO makes more now than they did before the current recession.ii
Wall Street may have recovered from the recession, but Main Street certainly has not. Middle- and working-class New Yorkers are still reeling from high unemployment, shrinking savings accounts and declining home values, while the wealthy and well-connected are back to business as usual, collecting multi-million dollar bonuses and lobbying for favorable treatment from Albany.
The Assembly’s legislation would ensure that the richest New Yorkers share the burden instead of getting a tax break. Under our plan, millionaires and multi-millionaires would remain in their current tax bracket until Dec. 31, 2012, and 30 percent of the revenue will go to the Educational Assistance Fund to be distributed to struggling school districts.
Earlier this year, the Assembly slashed state spending by $3.1 billion over last year’s budget and closed a $10 billion budget gap. These reductions included significant state funding cuts to education, health care and other programs New York’s working families rely on. Considering our current situation, it would be fiscally irresponsible and grossly unfair to cut more from the budget to shower tax breaks on the super-rich. Millionaires should simply remain in their tax bracket for now, and we should be investing in schools, health care and job creation. If you agree that we need to protect working families and not multi-millionaires, visit www.assembly.state.ny.us/endmilliontaxbreak and sign the petition.
i Tax Policy Center, www.taxpolicycenter.org/numbers/displayatab.cfm?Docid=2728
ii CEO pay exceeds pre-recession level, www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/06/national/main20060447.shtml