Tax cuts, but only a beginning

— I voted in favor of restructuring New York’s antiquated and overbearing tax code for one simple reason: New Yorkers in every class – lower, middle, and upper – have earned a tax break.

New York is special because we are the highest-taxing state in the nation. That means it doesn’t matter if you are in the 99 percent like me, or in the top 1 percent of wage earners, every New York resident is over-taxed. Whether you are a Wall Street banker or a Main Street baker, Albany owes you an apology and a refund.

This bill provides genuine tax relief on solid ground: It cuts taxes for families in almost every tax bracket. It offers middle class working families, those earning less” than $200,000, the lowest tax rates since 1958. It eliminates the “millionaire's tax surcharge for families earning between $200,000 and $2 million – and that’s important because in this income category reside the vast majority of small business owners and the lion’s share of job creators. And, with just .4 percent difference across three tax brackets, the new code creates a virtual flat income tax for those who earn between $40,000 and $2 million.

This restructuring is also the first step in walking back the largest tax and spending increases in state history, enacted in 2009. Tax cut legislation has been at the core of my agenda since I arrived in Albany. While this bill is not perfect, its passage by a tax-and-spend majority is clear evidence that my low-tax message is taking root.

There are some things this bill doesn't do. It doesn't reduce taxes enough, in my opinion. We cannot tax our way to prosperity, and the very existence of this bill is acknowledgment of that truth by a state legislature that lives in denial about its' addiction to taxing. Government will still be taking far too much money from the private sector. In particular, this bill is a classic Albany bait-and-switch because it cuts, but does not sunset, the millionaire's tax surcharge for families earning more than $2 million. I'll introduce tax cut and spending reduction legislation in January to address this issue.

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