It has been said that if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere – but residents of the Big Apple might have to make a bit more money and work a bit harder if Democratic-Socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC, has her way.
The same would hold true for all residents of the Empire State, not just those with the most posh zip codes and views to go with it.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez pushed for a tax hike on the top five percent earners in New York. She made the call last month as part of an effort to support immigrants and asylum seekers, arguing that “the richest New Yorkers have grown their wealth since the pandemic, and it’s past time they pay their fair share.”
In addition to funding programs for immigrants, the money would also go to fully fund schools, higher education, and healthcare, a statement from New York City Democratic Socialists suggested. Taxing the highest earners would seem to be very much “on brand” with AOC’s “tax the rich” sentiment.
Those high-earners could see their New York State taxes increase to as high as 7.5 percent – and that is in addition to any federal taxes. It should be noted too that New York City has an income tax on residents, and it already has the highest combined state-city income tax rate in the country for those with large incomes – of 14.77 percent.
Who Could Get the Squeeze?
Though many Americans might agree that the ultra-wealthy should and could easily pay just a bit more, at issue is who is actually in the top five percent in the Empire State.
As Tim Hoefer, CEO of the conservative think tank Empire Center for Public Policy, explained in an op-ed on Monday for The Wall Street Journal this isn’t just those living on 57th Street’s “billionaire row” or those with a multistory apartment on Park Avenue.
“Considering the left’s prior focus on ‘the 1 percent,’ this is a major development,” warned Hoefer.
He explained that while the top one percent of New Yorkers do make nearly $1 million in adjusted gross income, the five percent threshold is a little above $250,000 for a household, or a married couple making about $127,000 each. That includes not just hedge fund managers, but government workers, teachers, school administrators, and other “average” workers.
It Would Drive Away The Wealthy
In addition to the majority of the top five percent of New York State residents being below the millionaire status, such calls to raise taxes on this earning group could likely serve to drive them out of the Empire State.
A new study released by the travel site Upgraded Points last week found that New York had already suffered the largest exodus of wealthy millennials – aged 26 to 45 – who made up more than $200,000 than any other state. New York saw a 4.6 percent reduction, or a net drain, of 27,101 prime-aged taxpaying earners.
That was more than double the 2.3 percent loss of affluent millennials in California. Florida actually saw the largest influx of millennials, with a 5.6 percent bump. In New York, high-income earners were leaving the state at a rate higher than middle-income households.
Already some New York State lawmakers have set off alarm bells over the matter. This included State Senate Republican Minority Leader Robert Ortt told The New York Post on Tuesday, “We should be cutting taxes, not raising them. New York is already far too expensive, and this lack of affordability is forcing thousands of hardworking New Yorkers to flee to other states.”
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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