Assembly Democrats Propose Higher Taxes on Wealthy

By Mike VilenskyTaxesDow Jones Newswires

The Democratic majority in the Assembly on Thursday countered Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal with one of its own that creates new tax brackets for those earning between $5 million and $100 million.

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Mr. Cuomo proposes an 8.82% tax on income exceeding $1 million. The Assembly proposal, introduced by Speaker Carl Heastie, keeps that rate, but progressively taxes further for wealthy earners beginning at $5 million. The Assembly's tax structure tops out at a 10% tax for earners of more than $100 million.

"What we have here is a gazillionaire's tax," said E.J. McMahon, director of the New York think tank Empire Center for Public Policy. "Heastie wants to see Cuomo and raise him."

The proposal isn't surprising. The Assembly Democratic conference has long called for higher taxes on higher earners, while the more conservative state Senate has called for lower taxes across the board. But it marks the conference's negotiating position as it begin haggling with the Democratic governor and the Senate over taxes.

It wasn't clear exactly how many people would be affected by the Assembly's tax plan. Mr. McMahon said some 1,500 state residents earn more than $10 million.

The Assembly's move won plaudits by some liberal groups that said it would help residents at the bottom of the economic ladder.

The state tax structure is expected to be completed with the state budget by April 1.

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