Editorial: Keep tax surcharge on 'millionaires'
It would probably be more appropriate to call New York’s “millionaire’s tax” — on individuals making over $200,000 or couples over $300,000 — a “rich man’s tax,” but no matter what you call it, New York can ill afford, at least for the time being, to give up the revenue it produces. Unfortunately, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Republicans seem determined to do so.
The income tax surcharge of two percentage points was adopted two years ago, when jobs and bonuses on Wall Street were evaporating and income tax collections were falling through the floor. It was scheduled to sunset after just two years, on the premise that the economy — and tax collections — would have bounced back sufficiently by then. That hasn’t quite happened, of course, and this spring the state needs to make $10 billion worth of additional spending cuts to balance its budget. On top of the cuts that have already been made since the recession started, that’s going to cause a lot of pain for New Yorkers of far-more-modest means than people making upwards of $200,000 a year.
Keeping the surcharge in place would save the state $1 billion this year and as much as $5 billion next year — not enough to solve its fiscal crisis but a significant contribution. In other words, low- and middle-income New Yorkers — from rank-and-file state workers, teachers and nurses to people on public assistance — would still have plenty of burden to shoulder; it would just be slightly less severe.
Don’t these people deserve at least a little help from the richest 3 percent?