Higher Income Taxes Will Drive People Away, Paterson Says

ALBANY—When David Paterson was asked about why he chose to focus on 88 new and increased sales taxes and fees as opposed to a broader income tax increase, he said it was because he was afraid more people would leave New York.

“If you’re going to tax, you’ve got to tax at a time when your economy is coming back,” Paterson said, indisputably. “The broad-based income tax at this time would only exacerbate the problem.”

He said that the problem has gotten so pronounced that there is now even “Buffalo day in Atlanta” and “Hempstead day in Sarasota, Florida.

Still, the tax is very much on the table.

Instead, Paterson proposed revenue-generation in the form of expanded sales taxes and higher fees for services targeting everything from music downloads to baseball tickets.

Paterson’s proposals have attracted some criticism from fiscal liberals.

“Some of these fees are, in fact, regressive,” said Ron Deutsch, head of the labor-backed group New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness. “The reality is he’s nickel-and-dimming the average New Yorker and not asking the wealthiest New Yorkers to pay their fair share.”

UPDATE: Paterson Press Secretary Errol Cockfield issued a statement on this topic, saying the fees are “fair, reasonable and necessary to balance this budget.”

Higher Income Taxes Will Drive People Away, Paterson Says