From the “Economic and Revenue Outlook” volume of the 2011-12 Executive Budget, here’s the table showing the distribution of state personal income tax liability and adjusted gross income.


As usual, the numbers reflect an income tax structure that is effectively quite progressive.  By any measure, the wealthiest New Yorkers pay the lion’s share of the income tax, which accounts for about 60 percent of the state’s tax revenue.

Key takeaways from the 2011 tax year projections:

  • Taxpayers with incomes below $50,000 will make up nearly two-thirds of all filers but are expected to generate less than 4 percent of tax payments.
  • Taxpayers with incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 will make up about 20 percent of all filers but will generate less than 16 percent of tax payments.
  • Those with incomes between $100,000 and $200,000 will comprise less than 11 percent of all taxpayers but will generate more than 19 percent of tax payments.
  • The 4.1 percent of filers earning more than $200,000 are expected to generate 61 percent of income tax payments, and more than half of that amount will come from the one-half of one percent of filers reporting over $1 million in income.

Note, also, that since 2008 there has been a slight increase in the share of tax liability borne by those with incomes between $100,000 and $200,000.  This would reflect natural growth in the number of New Yorkers earning in the low six figures–which, in the New York City metro area, fits squarely into the definition of middle class.  (Public sector salaries over $100,000 are increasingly common downstate, especially among police and teachers.)

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

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

Read more by E.J. McMahon

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