The part of David Paterson’s budget proposal that’s getting the most attention from his critics is what’s not included–a tax on high-income earners.
Not that anyone expected Paterson to include the millionaire’s tax in his budget plan. The governor has long said he wants to focus on reducing Albany’s spending instead of raising taxes, and Sheldon Silver, a major (and powerful) proponent of the millionaire’s tax, said months ago he wouldn’t pursue it for fiscal year 2009.
But facing a draconian budget that may mean layoffs for city workers, among many other cuts, the proponents of the tax are making it clear they aren’t pleased.
A trio of educational groups called Paterson’s plan “unfair and unreasonable.” In a joint statement, the Alliance for Quality Education, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, and Citizen Action of New York wrote that Paterson could generate “upwards of $5 billion in new revenue by increasing taxes on New Yorkers who earn at least $250,000 annually.”
Working Families Party executive director Dan Cantor said in a public statement, “The idea that a small increase in taxes would drive people away or would harm a weakened economy is more politics than economics.”
Jennifer March Joly, executive director of the Citizens Committee for Children, said “there is one glaring hole” in Paterson’s proposal: “one group that has not been asked to sacrifice at all.” Raising taxes on the richest New Yorkers, she said, is “the most equitable and least painful means to ameliorating the most severe impacts of this budget crisis.
Expect to hear more about this.