City's Labor Leaders Unite Around Millionaire's Tax
October 26, 2011
Around Town – By Neal Tepel
Labor Leaders and community activists came to City Hall October 17th hoping to "stop payment" on New York State's coming $5 billion outlay to the State's wealthiest taxpayers. With a large check showing a $5 billion payment drawn from the 99 percent and payable to the 1 percent, as a prop, leaders including Mike Mulgrew of the UFT, TWU Local 100's John Samuelsen, DC 37's Lillian Roberts, and George Gresham of 1199 demanded that the State keep progressive taxation alive.
"If you don't tax those who have the ability to pay, you are forced to tax those who don't have the ability to pay through sales taxes and other regressive taxes," said State AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes.
Sunshine Ludder of the Center for Working Families released a study debunking Gov. Cuomo's oft-stated claim that if millionaires are forced to pay more, they will leave New York, and take their hefty incomes with them. "There is no evidence linking peoples' movement to their tax rates, but plenty of evidence that a millionaire's tax does help state budgets," she said. "From the period from 2008 through 2010, where a millionaire's tax was in place, the number of high network households grew by ten percent. From 2003 to 2005, where a tax was in place, the number of those households grew by 30%," she said.
One upstate millionaire, Bill Samuels, who made his fortune in plastics near Rochester, was on hand to urge Gov. Cuomo to get behind the higher tax rates. "The legislature and the Governor have made a terrible mistake by ending the tax," he said. "Capitalism is only as good as the respect the
citizens have for it."
At the event's half-way mark, Mayor Bloomberg climbed City Hall's steps but didn't stop to add his two cents.