State Senators Introduce Fair Share Tax Reform
February 10, 2009
– Initiative Would Raise More than $6 Billion in Revenue to Nearly Halve Budget Shortfall While Reforming New York’s Tax Code to Make it Fairer
(Albany, N.Y.) A group of Democratic Senators today introduced the Fair Share Tax Reform Act of 2009, an initiative that would raise more than $6 billion in new revenue by slightly increasing taxes on the wealthiest 5% of New Yorkers, those making more than $250,000 a year. The reform package would nearly halve New York’s budget deficit while making the tax system fairer, more progressive and in line with neighboring states. Today, New Yorkers who make more than $40,000 a year are subject to the very same marginal tax rate as those who make $400,000 or $40 million.
Over the last 30 years, New York has reduced income tax rates on the wealthiest New Yorkers by more than 50% and eliminated high income tax brackets so that working class families and the very rich pay the same tax rate. Currently, every New Yorker who earns more than $40,000 pays the same marginal tax rate of 6.85%, whether their income is $41,000 a year or $4.1 million. Fair Share Tax Reform would create new income brackets for individuals or families making more than $250,000, $500,000 and $1,000,000 at 8.25%, 8.97%, and 10.30% respectively. These new tax brackets would raise more than $6 billion in new added revenue.
The Fair Share Tax Reform proposal would mean New York State wouldn’t have to make billions in cuts to schools, healthcare, and communities. It could help prevent increases in class sizes, teacher layoffs, hospital and nursing home closings, longer wait times in emergency rooms and deep cuts to hundreds of important programs like housing assistance and homeless shelters.
“The Governor is absolutely right that in these challenging financial times, we all need to share the sacrifice,” said Senator Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan/Bronx). “That’s why it is so important that we ask our State’s wealthiest to contribute their fair share as well. Currently, the richest 1% of New Yorkers pay 6.5% of their total income in state and local taxes while the poorest 20% of New Yorkers pay 12.6% of their income. Fair Share Tax Reform would return fairness to our tax system while cutting our State’s budget deficit in half, eliminating the need to make the most devastating cuts to our communities.”
“It is very irresponsible public policy for an individual who makes $40,000 a year to be subject to the same tax rate as an individual who makes $4,000,000 a year,” added Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany).
“The Fair Share Tax Reform Act implements a progressive tax structure, making it more equitable for low-income and working families,” said Senator Antoine Thompson (D-Buffalo). “Those hardest hit are typically the ones that can least afford it.”
“The tax cuts provided to the wealthiest New Yorkers over the past 30 years are no longer viable during these difficult economic times,” said Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn). “If we don’t take this path and ask high-income New Yorkers to pay their fair share, then we will inevitably be faced with devastating cuts to health care, education and other essential community services. If there was ever a time to consider fairness in our tax code, it is now.”
“This legislation would create a much fairer system of taxation for all New Yorkers,” continued Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Queens). “There is no reason why someone earning $40,000 a year pays the same marginal tax rate as someone earning $4 million. This bill would correct this inequity.”
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