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BY SHELDON SILVER | Since we first introduced our proposal to extend New York’s “millionaire’s tax” in May, the state Assembly’s Democratic conference has led the way in the fight to bring fairness to our tax code. We strongly believe that those making $50,000 a year should not be paying the same tax rate as those earning $5 million, as would have been the case had we simply allowed the millionaire’s tax to expire at the end of this year.
That is why, working with Governor Cuomo, we passed legislation that brings New York’s tax code closer to common-sense fairness, provides much-needed tax relief for the middle class, honors our commitment to provide a quality education to our children and makes critical investments that will spur job growth and help our economy.
This law will help our Lower Manhattan families and small businesses by making the tax code fairer and by creating critical new programs that will help our youth find jobs and spur hiring by local businesses. Small business owners will now be able to receive tax credits for hiring unemployed young people, and additional funding will be made available for summer youth employment, job training and workforce educational programs. One of our top priorities must be making sure our young people, particularly in this challenging economy, are equipped with the tools they need to succeed.
This legislation also includes an infrastructure fund that will inject $1 billion in job-creating investment into our economy by investing in long-overdue improvements to roads, bridges, schools and parks. There is no shortage of badly needed investment projects in New York City, and the high-quality jobs they create will be of enormous benefit for Lower Manhattan residents.
In addition to new programs, this initiative provides the most significant tax relief to middle-class families in decades. Under the new tax code, 99 percent of all tax filers in New York State will receive a tax cut. Assembly Democrats made clear from the beginning that any solution that balances our budget on the backs of the hard-working men and women of our community would be unacceptable. We vowed not to allow our most vulnerable citizens — like the seniors who rely on senior centers throughout Lower Manhattan — to suffer because of an unnecessary tax cut for the wealthiest among us.
Every household earning less than $300,000 a year will see their taxes go down; those earning between $300,000 and $2 million will see no increase over what they were paying before the millionaire’s tax surcharge went into effect; and those earning more than $2 million will see a modest tax hike over what they were paying before the surcharge.
The agreement will provide $2 billion in revenue for the people of New York in each of the next three years by creating a more progressive tax structure. Working together, we have advanced a plan that will spur job creation, make our tax code fairer, and put the state budget on a sound foundation.
Our work is far from done. When the coming session begins in Albany this January, Assembly Democrats will be back at work, fighting to protect our schools, create jobs and pass a fair budget that puts the middle class first.
Silver represents the 64th Assembly District and is the speaker of the New York State Assembly