Op-ed: NY’s millionaires getting hefty tax breaks

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Did you know there are over 200 millionaires here in Dutchess County who are now paying a state income tax rate of less than 9 percent? Under Gov. Nelson Rockefeller four decades ago, they paid a 15.5 percent tax rate.

And did you know that, up until December 2011, the millionaires’ tax used to bring in $5 billion a year, but now it brings in only half that because of the three-man backroom deal cut that winter?

I believe the 200-plus local millionaires could, and should, pay a bit more in a local county-level piggyback income tax here in Dutchess, as part of an alternative source of revenue to repeal the new, punishing $7.5 million home fuel tax here in Dutchess County. Marc Molinaro, Rob Rolison, and the GOP majority of our County Legislature put this in place (not Terry Gipson, as recent GOP mailings and robocalls attest, incredibly).

By the way, you can sign onto a new petition to repeal the new home fuel tax by going to change.org and searching “Real Majority Project.” It points out 10 different ways to bring in enough innovative, alternative, win-win sources of revenue to make repeal of this punishing tax possible.

But that’s not all, folks. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and GOP state legislators have also proposed $800 million in new estate tax cuts, the bulk of which would go to the 200 wealthiest families in the state; and downstate estates greater than $10 million would receive 50 percent tax reductions, averaging $1.6 million or more.

The fact is that just one half of 1 percent of the 8.7 million New Yorkers who filed tax returns last year paid any estate tax at all, and according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, the net worth of a median household in the U.S. is $64,900– about one-fifteenth of the current $1 million estate tax threshold in our state.

Thanks to my County Legislator colleagues Micki Strawinski, Barbara Jeter-Jackson, and April Marie Farley for signing on to my recent letter to Albany rejecting estate tax cuts. Call the Governor and state legislators at 877-255-9417 on this and check out NYforAllofUs.org and ABetterChoiceforNY.org for much more. You can join our massive statewide NyInequality.org coalition and our new NYS Budget Legislative Accountability Project for Progressive Budget Solutions on Facebook, and call in to my radio shows Saturday mornings 8-11am on WHVW.com 950 AM and Monday mornings 6-7 am on WVKR.org 91.3 FM.

Joel Tyner, County Legislator

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