N.Y. Lawmakers Extend Millionaire Surcharge

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has dropped his opposition to higher income taxes on the wealthy. He and state legislative leaders have agreed to continue a surcharge on people earning more than $2 million a year. Karen DeWitt reports for New York State Public Radio.

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In New York State, high earners will soon be paying more in taxes. Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have agreed to increase tax rates for millionaires. Karen DeWitt of New York State Public Radio reports.

KAREN DEWITT, BYLINE: Governor Cuomo had opposed continuing an income tax surcharge on New York's wealthy, arguing that it would hurt the state's competitive edge for attracting new business. Now, the governor has changed his mind. He's agreed to temporarily raise the top income tax bracket on New Yorkers earning more than $2 million a year. Middle class rates will be lowered, on a sliding scale.

Cuomo, in a pre-recorded message, says the new system is more equitable.

GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO: I am proposing a fair tax system for New York based on a simple truth, the more you make, the higher the rate you pay.

DEWITT: The governor blames his tax policy reversal on the continued gridlock in Congress.

CUOMO: The economy is not going to get better on its own, and Washington is not coming to the rescue.

DEWITT: In addition, the state is strapped for cash, and faces a multibillion dollar budget deficit. Ron Deutsch, with New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, a coalition that advocates taxing the rich, worries that the new plan won't yield enough.

RON DEUTSCH: This doesn't generate the type of revenue that we need in New York to address the major problems that we're facing, with record unemployment, record hunger record homeless.

DEWITT: Cuomo and the legislature also want to expand gambling in New York, to raise even more revenue. For NPR News, I'm Karen DeWitt in Albany.

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