"Is New York Finally Ready To Tax the Rich?" is the headline over a Ginia Bellafante column in Sunday's New York Times. The "Finally" aspect of it will doubtless elicit bitter laughs from those New Yorkers who have for years already been paying some of the highest combined state and local tax rates in the nation. The column reports:
Of all the various laws put forth, the one that seems to have the greatest support would raise income tax rates in increments beginning with individuals making more than $300,000 (or couples making more than $450,000). Currently, the top marginal tax rate in the state is 8.82 percent. Under the Invest in New York Act, the figure would climb to just over 10 percent for those making $2 million a year, for instance. At the maximum end, those bringing in $100 million or more, the rate would extend to 15 percent.
Last month, Governor Cuomo himself floated the notion of graduated hikes to income tax that would require those in the top bracket to pay 10.82 percent.
Florida, where the state income tax is zero whether you are rich or poor, might want to consider hiring a lobbyist to push this New York tax increase to passage and thereby accelerate the flow of talent southward. Even Massachusetts, which neighbors New York and where the top income tax rate is 5%, might consider a behind-the-scenes effort to push the tax increase as a way of disadvantaging its longtime rival. It takes a certain type of New York arrogance—and essentially one-party government, at least at the statewide level—to imagine that individuals will be willing to pay 15% or 10% or 10.82% of their annual income for the privilege of residing in the Empire State.