Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, today continue to press to continue higher income taxes on millionaires in New York, saying
“I think the public is clearly with us.”
Silver, who attended an autism bill signing at the Capitol, said the state’s fiscal condition may dictate the need to continue the higher taxes on millionaires, which is set to expire at year’s end and brings in about $4 billion a year in revenue. The current surcharge starts at those making more than $200,000 a year.
“The public has weighed in overwhelmingly that they don’t want millionaires to get a tax reduction at this time when the state’s economy is so poor,” Silver said. “I think ultimately after several months of debate, I think that we and the public can win that discussion.”
Polls have shown wide support for continuing the higher income-tax brackets on the wealthy, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Republicans have said they won’t extend the tax, saying it would hurt the state’s economy.
Cuomo reiterated that theme today, explaining that “I’m progressive, but I’m broke.”
He added, “We’re in the middle of an economic recession. It is nationwide. The state has a multi-billion dollar deficit and how are you a progressive leader in that context? That’s the challenge that we face.”
Cuomo indicated that the state budget deficit for next fiscal year—pegged at $2.4 billion—may worsen because of the state’s economic woes.
That, Silver said, may require the state to look to the millionaires’ tax for additional revenue. He pointed out that the state has already pledged a 4 percent increase in school aid and health-care services as part of next year’s budget, which starts April 1.
“We see not giving a tax cut to people who make more than a million dollars as the way to fund those commitments,” Silver told reporters. “Depending on what happens with the economy, I think everybody will turn around and say that’s the only way we can do it.”
Here’s some of Silver’s comments to reporters.