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December 15, 2008

New York Daily News

'Fair Share' Tax Reform Pushed Through WFP Poll

Here's the poll commissioned by the Working Families Party to demonstrate to state lawmakers that New Yorkers indeed support the so-called millionaire's tax - especially if it is employed in concert with budget cuts of the type Gov. David Paterson is poised to propose tomorrow.

When it comes to increasing the personal income tax on people who make more than $200,000 a year, the findings of the poll, conducted by the Boston-based Kiley & Company (also the pollster preferred by DACC), are largely in keeping with public polls conducted over the past six months.

Generally speaking, the Kiley poll found registered voters prefer the idea of "major" state spending cuts (55 percent) to the cuts+taxes approach (38) and reall don't like (1 percent) the idea of just raising taxes while instituting no cuts at all.

However, there's also not a lot of support for cuts to education (22-75) and Medicaid 929-65) spending (New Yorkers are split on cutting aid to the city (47-43) and also overwhelmingly support the idea of the Bigger, Better Bottle Bill, 84 percent).

So, when asked if they would support the millionaire's tax, 75 percent said they strongly or somewhat favor the idea, while 23 percent were opposed, and 42 percent said they'd be even more inclined to back it if the increase was only temporary (much like what was done by the Legislature over then-Gov. George Pataki's veto in the wake of 9/11).

Support for the PIT increase is basically the same if the threshold salary is raised to $250,000 (76-21), but dramatically lower if it's dropped to $150,000 (48-50).

Paterson has staunchly refused to support the millionaire's tax idea, even though it's backed by his fellow Democrats in the state Assembly and some Democratic senators, agreeing with Mayor Bloomberg that an economic downturn is not the time to overburden the state's wealthiest residents who could simply relocate and take their spending power with them.

However, Paterson is about to propose $4 billion worth of new fees and taxes to help close the $15 billion budget gap, so it's not like he's completely sticking to his no-tax-hikes approach.


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