On Keeping Millionaires’ Tax, Silver Says “The Public Is Clearly With Us”

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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.

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2 Comments

  1. It’s hard to believe that we are seriously discussing laying off 3,500 state workers for less than $100m in savings, while giving away $4 billion by letting the MT lapse…. Can you say Politics? Happy New Year! Happy Thanksgiving. I’m glad the Gov thinks he’s a Progressive. How about you go with Progressive Taxation? If you let the MT lapse, people making over $40,000 a year will pay the same % Income Tax as Billionaires? Hello? Anybody home??

    How about you compromise and give them only half of the surcharge back? It’s not rocket science. Sorry we got your nose out of joint, but are you really going to send civil servants out into the street for the holidays, just to prove your point?

  2. If there are going to be layoffs, start with the thousands of do-nothing political nepotists on the State payroll.