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Several Queens Legislators Call for Big Tax Hikes on the Wealthy, More Modest Tax Increases Likely

New York State Capitol (Photo: By Matt H. Wade., Creative Commons 3.0)

April 6, 2021 By Ryan Songalia

With New York’s state budget expected to be released shortly, a group of Queens legislators are hoping it includes a number of progressive measures aimed at raising taxes on wealthy residents and large corporations.

A package of six bills known collectively as the Invest In Our New York Act has earned the support of eight Queens-based state legislators, including Deputy Senate Leader Mike Gianaris and State Senators Jessica Ramos, Leroy Comrie, James Sanders and John Liu. Assembly Members Ron Kim, Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas and Khaleel Anderson have also signed on.

However, most of the measures are not likely to become a reality–based on a budget agreement state lawmakers are currently stitching together.

The six bills would theoretically raise about $50 billion in this year’s budget. They include raising the progressive income tax rates on New Yorkers earning $300,000 and above; a capital gains tax on investment income; an heirs’ tax on some inheritances worth over $2 million; a billionaires’ tax, as well as a Wall Street tax on financial transactions.

The state budget that is currently being negotiated is expected to fall far short of the progressive legislators’ wish list. It would see corporate and income tax hikes that would only bring in an additional $4.3 billion.

A Wall Street Journal report, however, notes that the city’s top earners under the proposed budget would still wind up paying the highest combined local tax rate in the country.

The plan would see income-tax rates rise to 9.65 percent from 8.82 percent for single filers reporting more than $1 million in income and for joint filers more than $2 million, the WSJ reported.

The budget deal is also expected to add two new tax brackets. Income over $5 million would be taxed at 10.3 percent and income over $25 million would be taxed at 10.9 percent.

With New York City’s income tax rate at 3.88 percent for the highest earning residents, wealthy residents could face a combined state and city income tax of between 13.5 percent and 14.8 percent under the new plan.

California currently has the highest top income-tax rate in the country, at 13.3 percent on income over $1 million, according to the WSJ.

The proposed budget would include an increase in school aid, as well as funds for undocumented immigrants who were left out of previous federal stimulus packages, and small business and tenants who are behind on rent, the report states.

The budget’s deadline was originally set for April 1, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo says public safety measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 is to blame for the delay.

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