The Millionaire's Tax: Kill It, Now

Just when you thought that common sense might prevail in Albany, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is pushing a modified version of the so-called “millionaire’s tax” in an effort to avoid hard but necessary cuts in wasteful state spending. Mr. Silver’s gambit no doubt will please many members of his Democratic caucus, but the state’s top Democrat, Governor Andrew Cuomo, has made it clear that this plan is going nowhere.

Mr. Silver and his fellow Democrats should cease and desist. A tax hike on high earners isn’t going anywhere, nor should it. It would be far better for all New Yorkers if the Assembly’s Democrats focused their energy and talent on reforming state government, rather than punishing their fellow New Yorkers who happen to earn high incomes.

A state surcharge on annual incomes of more than $200,000 is due to expire at the end of the year. Mr. Silver has proposed a one-year extension of the surcharge–a tax hike–although it would apply only to incomes of more than $1 million. The surcharge would bring in an extra $706 million in the new fiscal year.

Why are the Democrats pushing this tax hike? It’s pretty simple–they want to spend more and cut less. The Assembly wants to spend about $400 million more than Mr. Cuomo has called for in his proposed budget. The tax hike would finance that extra spending.

The Assembly apparently hasn’t learned that the public is fed up with politics as usual, but Governor Cuomo and Senate Republicans have gotten the message–Albany cannot tax its way out of this fiscal crisis. Penalizing affluent New Yorkers will achieve nothing except economic stagnation and a never-ending fiscal crisis.

Let’s put an end to the millionaire’s tax and get on with the business of reform.