A move to raise taxes on New York City residents that make more than a million dollars a year is gaining steam as the financial district enters its second month of protests.
The notion of taxing millionaires more aggressively in order to avoid further budget cuts isn’t new, but the subject of taxation and wealth has been in the forefront for the past few weeks as the Occupy Wall Street protests continue to build momentum both in New York and nationwide. (Globally, actually.) A current “millionaire’s tax” on city residents who earn more than $200,000 a year is set to expire on December 31st, but polls reveal widespread support to extend the tax- at least among people who make less than $200,000 a year.
Kelly Heresy of the Occupy Wall Street movement commented to press about the effects of the protests on politicians. Heresy said:
“Politicians are already starting to, grudgingly, take notice. This voice is not really represented by the politicians, who are mainly working on behalf of their biggest fund raisers — the corporations and banks.”
Ron Deutsch of “labor-backed” New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness also commented:
“The governor claims he is a progressive, but a broke progressive. But it seems he can find money when he needs to find money for big business. We hope the governor comes around and sees there are so many people struggling in this state that it’s not right to give a tax break to millionaires.”
Governor Cuomo, a Democrat, has been vocally opposed to the taxes, citing a fear of millionaire-exodus from New York City. EJ McMahon, of the right-leaning Manhattan Institute, explained the position:
“A sharp, permanent increase in taxes on a small group of highly mobile taxpayers, who enjoy a great deal of discretion over the timing and nature of their income, will inevitably cause some of them to either shift income away from this jurisdiction, or earn less, or collect the income in forms that will not be taxed… The impact on the private sector in New York can only be negative.”
Is taxing the wealthy at a higher rate a fair revenue-raising strategy, or does it seem punitive?