A coalition of advocacy groups and labor unions are pushing state lawmakers to accept an income surcharge on those making $1 million or more, a proposal resisted by both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Republicans.
The campaign will target lawmakers in nine Senate districts around the state, including Buffalo, Binghamton, Poughkeepsie, Rochester and the Hudson Valley.
The coalition, called Strong Economy for All, is unleashing radio spots and mailers designed to move the issue into the final budget plan. The group is composed of 1199/SEIU, United Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, the state United Teachers union, 32BJ, Citizen Action, Alliance for Quality Education, New York Communities for Change, Coalition for the Homeless and Make the Road NY.
Various statewide voter polls have shown support for a surcharge on the wealthy. The state budget is due April 1, the start of the fiscal year.
Here’s a sample of the radio spot targeting Sen. Stephen Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, which features snooty-sounding millionaires discussing the tax:
Voice 1: So is Saland with us?
Voice 2. The State Senator? Stephen Saland? Not clear, but looks like it.
Voice 1: Good. We need his vote to end the millionaire’s tax, and give fat cats like us a big break.
Voice 2: Right, Saland is key. With his vote to end the millionaire’s tax, I can buy a new yacht.
Voice 1: And I can buy a new Rolls.
Voice 2: He’ll take care of our buddies on Wall Street too?
Voice 1: I’d hope so – we rich guys have to stick together – or they’ll be expecting us to pay our, er, fair share. (haughty laugh)
Gatsby Music up
Voice 3 (female): Before they get to Senator Stephen Saland, you can give him a call and tell him to keep the millionaire’s tax — instead of cutting funding for children and seniors. Ending the millionaire’s tax would mean a huge new tax break for millionaires, while the rest of us have to sacrifice. Call Senator Stephen Saland now at 518-455-2411. Tell him to stand up to the millionaires.
<Millionaires continue talking as voice levels fade out>
Voice 1: A Learjet
Voice 2: A Beamer!
(thwack of bad golf shot)
Voice 1: A new driver!
(millionaires murmur agreement)
Paid for by The Strong Economy for All Coalition
Cuomo has said the tax, which was an alteration of a surcharge on those making $200,000 or more and couples making $300,000 or more, should not be in the final budget plan. He also supports letting the current surcharge expire at the end of the year.
Cuomo’s coalition of business interests and private-sector trade unions, known as the Committee to Save New York oppose the tax and want to cap property taxes.
Supporters of the tax argue that the state is planning deep cuts to education aid and Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, and that the $700 million in revenue would offset those cuts.
Here’s the radio ads targeting Saland, along with Sens. Joe Robach, R-Greece and William Larkin, R-Orange County.