Today’s NY1/YNN-Marist Poll of New York voter attitudes on state budget issues may set a new benchmark for complete disregard of a key policy detail, resulting in at least one finding that is essentially worthless.

Here’s how the Marist pollsters framed the question for voter preferences on the number-one tax issue in the budget debate: “A New York State surcharge on income of a million dollars or more, referred to as the millionaire’s tax, will expire at the end of this year.”

Wrong. In 2009, the Legislature temporarily added two new brackets to the income tax.  The first hit incomes as low as $200,000 for single taxpayers.  The highest bracket, which raised taxes 31 percent, kicks in at incomes of $500,000. While “millionaire tax” is the brand name favored by advocates of higher taxes, it’s disappointing to see such blatant spin presented as fact in a poll co-sponsored by a leading news organization.

Compounding the misleading nature of the question, the poll gave three choices. Sixty four percent chose the first, worded as follows: “This surcharge on high income should be extended so as not to add to the state budget deficit.”

Memo to the folks at NY1/YNN News and Marist: when looking to the future, the budget faces not a “deficit” but a “gap” — and as Governor Cuomo noted yesterday, that number is the product of a whole lot of assumptions about current law.  On the revenue side, the gap estimate already assumes the higher personal income tax brackets will phase out on schedule at the end of this year.  So the premise of choice one is also incorrect.  Extending the tax brackets will not reduce the gap.  It will simply increase taxes.

The wording of the second choice offered by the poll, favored by 33 percent, is not much better: “This surcharge on high income should not be extended because any added taxes[,] even those on high income[,] hurt New York State.” The use of that word “even” comes close to nudging respondents to think twice before choosing it. Three percent of respondents chose the third option: “Unsure.”

On the other hand, asked to choose a “top priority” for New York State, a larger share (31 percent) said “cut taxes” than “maintain services and benefits” (favored by 27 percent).  The leading response, picked by 41 percent, was “reduce the deficit,” which is not actually exclusive of the other two choices.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

Sales Tax Receipts Surge Statewide, Filling Local Government Coffers

Local governments across every region of the state raked in robust sales tax collections during the three months that ended on June 30th Read More

Remote Threat 

Remote work and a more mobile professional class will increase the speed and scope of New York's ongoing out migration. Read More

New York’s Hospital Industry Ranks Near the Bottom of Two Quality Report Cards

New York's hospitals remain near the bottom of two quality report cards. The state's hospitals received the lowest rate of any state except Nevada and DC. Read More

Tax hike and huge spending increase seem likely in next NY budget

New York state today began its 2022 fiscal year without an adopted budget—which, in itself, is not a big deal. The state government can continue to pay bills and employee salaries next week if either final appropriations Read More

As a Supreme Court Ruling Loomed, Cuomo Bent His Own Rules on COVID ‘Clusters’

In the midst of the constitutional showdown over his pandemic policies, Governor Cuomo made changes to a disputed Brooklyn 'cluster zone' that seemed to contradict his own declared guidelines. Read More

DiNapoli Predicts $3.8B More in State Tax Receipts

New York State's tax receipts in the current fiscal year will exceed Governor Cuomo's latest projections by $3.8 billion—still down from last year, but a big improvement over the governor's worst-case scenario—according to updated estimates from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office. Read More

With Hopes Dashed for “Blue Wave” Bailout, Cuomo Needs to Deal With Budget Shortfall

With the national election results still unclear, Governor Cuomo can no longer put off tough decisions on how to balance New York's pandemic-ravaged state budget. Read More

For State Lawmakers, Secrecy May Pay

New York state legislators may get a raise on January 1, 2021—but the people who elect them may not get to find out before voting ends next week. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

Press Inquiries: Press@EmpireCenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!