Poll: New Yorkers Support Higher Wealth Taxes

by | Jan 16, 2024 | News

(The Center Square) — A majority of New York voters support increasing taxes on the state’s top earners, according to a new independent poll, which comes as Democratic lawmakers prepare to make another push for a wealth tax.

The Siena poll, commissioned by the Invest in Our New York campaign, found that 74% of voters believe taxes should go up for the highest 5% of earners. A similar percentage of those who responded, and 72% of upstate residents, believe raising taxes on the rich rather than cutting services should be the solution to address any state budget shortfall, according to the poll.

“While 49% agree that tax increases will result in millionaire flight and nearly as many believe increasing taxes will hurt rather than help the economy, of those with these concerns, a majority still support higher taxes on the highest earners,” Don Levy, director of the Siena College Research Institute, said in a statement.

Carolyn Martinez-Class, campaign manager at Invest In Our New York, said the polling data confirms that New Yorkers favor higher taxes on the rich to pay for public programs.

“Working-class New Yorkers, the people who wake up each day to strive for a better future for themselves and their families, continue to be the victims of budget cuts and diminished state resources. In the meantime, the ultra-rich continue to accumulate wealth,” she said in a statement. “If our leaders do not intervene, the affordability crisis in New York will only get worse.”

The advocacy said the Empire State has one of the nation’s largest concentrations of ultra-rich households, with individuals earning $30 million, collectively holding $7 trillion in wealth. But the group argues the rich aren’t paying their “fair share” of taxes.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, has pledged not to raise taxes in her upcoming executive budget proposal and has rejected previous efforts to impose higher taxes on the state’s wealthiest.

But some Democratic lawmakers have vowed to make another push in the upcoming legislative session to increase taxes on the state’s wealthiest.

New York is facing a projected $4 billion deficit in the next fiscal year’s budget, with economists suggesting the revenue shortfalls will result in cuts to programs and services.

In 2021, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised the state’s tax rates on some of the wealthiest New Yorkers. Residents earning between $5 million and $25 million are now taxed 10.3%, and those making over $25 million are taxed 10.9%. New York City residents with income over those thresholds pay between 13.5% and 14.8%, including the city’s 3.88% top income-tax rate.

Critics say the higher rates have driven wealthy New Yorkers out of the state. An analysis released last year by New York City’s Independent Budget Office found the number of taxpayers who earned between $1 million and $5 million declined 11% in 2020 from the prior year as the top earners fled for other states.

A 2023 Tax Foundation report cautioned New York and other states against taxing the rich to drum up money, saying it would undercut investment and drive entrepreneurs and innovators away.

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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