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Jennifer Dotson (G-Ithaca) Calls on Guv Cuomo to have the Wealthy Pay their Fair Share

Jennifer Dotson

Jennifer Dotson

Following is the text of a resolution Jennifer Dotson introduced at the City of Ithaca’s Common Council meeting. She is the First Ward Alderperson, Green Party, and Chair of the Planning and Economic Development Committee. The resolution passed unanimously (8 Dem, 1 Independent, 1 Green) and a similar one passed unanimously through the county legislature (12 Dem, 3 Repub). Next stop is the state legislature 


WHEREAS, on February 1, 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a proposed 2011-2012 state budget that closes a $10 billion budget deficit through deep cuts to state, county and municipal programs including a $2.85 billion cut to Medicaid, at least $1.5 billion in cuts to education, and the possible laying off of 9,800 state workers, and 

WHEREAS, the proposed 2011-2012 state budget disproportionately targets spending reductions on programs that serve the most vulnerable populations. This includes, but is not limited to, youth, children with developmental disabilities, the elderly, the poor, and those living with disabilities, and

WHEREAS, these proposed cuts will have widespread effects on the people of the City of Ithaca and of Tompkins County and the entire state, and

WHEREAS, according to a February 2011 resolution by the membership of the New York State Association of Counties, “the gradual, but steady, pullback in State funding support for a variety of human services programs including child welfare, adoption subsidies, food stamp administration, Family Assistance, Safety Net and youth detention and treatment creates an environment in which the State is directly moving away from its constitutional requirement to care for the needy,” and

WHEREAS, in 2009, New York State approved a temporary income tax surcharge that increased the tax rate on those earning between $300,000 and $500,000 from 6.85 to 7.85 percent, and those earning over $500,000 to 8.97 percent, and 

WHEREAS, overall, the wealthiest 1% of households pay a much smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than do all other New Yorkers, even with the temporary income tax increase, and 
WHEREAS, the top personal income tax rate was 15.375% in the early 1970’s, and investment income used to be taxed at a higher rate than earned income, and

WHEREAS, Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget does not include revenue generation by extending this temporary tax surcharge on the wealthy, and

WHEREAS, Governor Cuomo’s refusal to extend the income tax surcharge on the wealthy will cost the state $4 billion in lost revenue in the 2012 fiscal year according to state budget projections, and

WHEREAS, the DOW Jones Industrial Average has recovered from the recession, and corporations currently hold $2 trillion in cash that is not being actively used to provide capital for growth in the American economy, and 

WHEREAS, corporations are earning considerable profits and paying record bonuses, and

WHEREAS, on February 21, 2011, Governor Cuomo stated, “I don’t believe in increasing taxes, I believe it’s counterproductive for the state. I believe more people will leave the state and you’ll have less revenue.”

WHEREAS, extending a current level of taxation is not the same as increasing taxes, and in any case the extension does not bring the upper tax rate even close to the historic rate of 15.375%, and

WHEREAS, there is no evidence that moderate tax rate increases at the top levels induce outmigration. In fact, after New York passed a temporary surcharge on higher-income taxpayers in 2003, the number of high-income returns grew by 30% while the surcharge was in effect. Evidence from New Jersey shows that since 2004, when that state raised the tax rate on half-millionaires by 2.6%, the number of people earning at least $500,000 has grown by 70% and people have not left the state as a result, and

WHEREAS, increasing taxes on those making a million dollars or more is favored by two thirds of New York voters according to a NY1/Marist poll released February 1, 2011, and
WHEREAS the Common Council of the City of Ithaca believes that all New Yorkers should share in sacrifice in these difficult fiscal times, especially those most financially able to do so, now therefore be it 

RESOLVED, that the Common Council of the City of Ithaca calls on the New York State Senate and Assembly to extend the tax surcharge on the wealthy to provide additional revenues to the state and mitigate the substantial negative effect of the proposed cuts on the most vulnerable New York residents,

RESOLVED, further, that copies of this resolution be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Leader Dean Skelos, Senate Minority Leader John Sampson, Senator Tom O’Mara, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, and the New York Conference of Mayors.

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