Click here to read the Empire Center’s related analysis of IRS filing data.

The number of New York state residents whose income exceeded $1 million increased 16 percent between 2008 and 2012, reaching the highest point since 2008, state data reviewed by Gannett’s Albany Bureau showed.

New Yorkers making more than $1 million in taxable income in 2012 jumped to 41,414 filers, up from 35,705 in 2011 and exceeding the 35,788 millionaires in 2008, according to records from the state Department of Taxation and Finance.

Our database above lets you search by county the number of people who earned more than $200,000 and over $1 million in 2012.

Westchester County had the most making more than $1 million outside Manhattan with about 7,300, up 10 percent between 2008 and 2012, the most recent figures available.

Some counties also had large increases: up 38 percent in Erie County; 33 percent in Monroe and Dutchess counties; and 22 percent in Broome County.

It’s the latest rebound for the state’s wealthiest residents amid ongoing pressure from liberal groups and unions for New York leaders to increase taxes on the rich. Those groups said the growth in those making $1 million or more a year is another reason why the rich should pay more in taxes to fund schools, infrastructure and services for the needy.

“I think the evidence of the growing number of millionaires shows that a surcharge on millionaires doesn’t drive them out of the state,” said Billy Easton, executive director of the union-backed Alliance for Quality Education. “So asking them to pay a little more, it is a totally reasonable approach.”

Conservative groups said the increase in those making $1 million or more a year in New York doesn’t tell the full picture. New York had the slowest growth in the country in millionaires between 2011 and 2012, said E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center for State Policy.

He cited IRS records that showed the number of millionaires nationwide grew by 29 percent, from 304,000 to 392,000, between 2011 and 2012. In New York, it was up 15 percent, ranking last in the nation.

McMahon said the figures are exacerbated because wealthy people boosted their income reporting as much as possible in 2012 to avoid new, higher federal tax rates in 2013.

“We have a tax code that’s dependent on high-wealth people, and in a crucial year, we were at the bottom of the pile,” McMahon said.

Between 2010 and 2011, the number of millionaires in New York grew by 8.5 percent and was up 19 percent between 2009 and 2010, state records show. During the recession, millionaires in New York dropped 22 percent in 2009 compared with 2008.

© 2014 Gannett News Service

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