The top 1 percent of earners pay 46 percent of New York income taxes. That’s a lot of revenue to lose if only a few of them skip to Florida. Almost half of the upper East side has already bolted.
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New York lawmakers rush to slaughter the golden goose
Tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo complained in February, mocking state lawmakers whose obsession with milking wealthy New Yorkers risked causing those fat cats to flee the state. But those legislators plainly took it as an instruction manual.
The pandemic and lockdown have tanked the economy and government revenues. State Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) told Newsday the answer is “ensuring that those with the most are pitching in their fair share and those with the least are not made to bear a disproportionate burden.”
Never mind if that “fairness” kills the businesses she wants to milk or pushes high earners to give up on New York. Plenty are already eyeing the exits, since it’s hard to see how to virus-proof dense urban areas.
As it is, the top 1 percent of earners pay 46 percent of New York income taxes. That’s a lot of revenue to lose if only a few of them skip to Florida.
Some Democratic state lawmakers want a new tax on billionaires; others favor a stock-transfer tax, a pied-à-terre tax on second homes, surtaxes on hedge-funders, new levies on big corporations that got federal tax breaks in 2017 and on and on.
The legislative Robin Hoods talk about their plans as “shared sacrifice.” But the sacrifice-ees can vote “no” with their feet. The Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon points out that the stock-transfer tax, in particular, will simply push a mobile industry to perform its transactions anywhere but here.
City and state, New York faces an existential challenge: Experts warn the local economy won’t recover until 2024 — and that assumes state leaders don’t burden it further.
It’s beyond sad when the plan is to kill the golden goose.
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