If you’re not a millionaire, you might think Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s millionaire tax surcharge won’t hurt you. Think again.

At a hearing this week on the state budget — which, by law, Albany must pass in three weeks — speakers like Empire Center fiscal expert E.J. McMahon and Partnership for New York president Kathy Wylde made it crystal clear that all New Yorkers, not just the rich, will pay a price for Cuomo’s class warfare.

Start with McMahon’s observation that much of the add-on — which bumps the state’s personal income tax top rate to 8.82 percent from 6.85 percent for three years — isn’t necessary to make ends meet.

Consider, too, that the 8.82 percent rate is the seventh-highest in the nation and that New York City tacks on an extra 3.9 percentage points on top of that for its own income tax — a huge drag on the economy.

“Only California has moderately higher tax rates than New York City,” notes Wylde. Texas and Florida, which have no personal-income tax, “are growing their economy and creating jobs” far faster than here.

There are other consequences. Albany, for example, relies on the top 1 percent of taxpayers for more than 40 percent of its income tax revenue. If these folks hit a rough patch, so does the state. Even Assembly Democrats’ staff call this pot of money “inherently unstable” and “unsustainable.”

The higher rate also motivates high-income taxpayers to move out of state. And “even small shifts of millionaire earners can have outsized effects on New York revenues,” McMahon notes.

Cuomo himself concedes this: “There’s a tipping point,” he says. “If you raise taxes too high, people just say, ‘I leave.’ ” Which might explain why New York’s share of the nation’s population has steadily declined for decades.

Meanwhile, the rush for the exits will only grow if, as is proposed, Washington scraps or trims the federal deduction for state and local taxes, leaving New Yorkers paying even more out of pocket.

So, yes, millionaires who stay in New York will get hit. But others will feel the pain, too.

That’s not an anti-millionaire plan — it’s anti-everybody.

© 2017 New York Post


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