Editorial: Bad timing on tax cuts for all

12/15/2011 6:00 AM |

After state lawmakers reached a tax overhaul deal last week, Senator Ken LaValle fired off a statement to the press congratulating state lawmakers who, unlike their federal counterparts, were able to work together in a bipartisan fashion to “accomplish major changes and positive reforms” through the new Middle Class Tax Cut and Job Creation plan. (See page 3.) His statements were echoed by many others in state government.

Despite those assertions, the results of this bipartisan agreement seem to be the same as what’s been happening in Washington, D.C., over the last few years — tax breaks for all, including the rich and über-rich, people who make over $2 million a year.

How is that supposed to solve our long-term budget problems?

This supply-side stuff certainly hasn’t worked getting the federal government on track over the last few years, since the job creators, as the GOP calls the rich, haven’t been creating jobs as they did in the 1990s, when they paid higher taxes.

The spin from Albany is that because the so-called millionaires’ surcharge was set to expire in December, and the overhauled tax rate structure would charge the wealthy more than the pre-surcharge rate, all sides gave in a little. But in the end, the super-wealthy will still pay less in taxes in 2012 than they did this year. As will everyone else.

Providing tax breaks for all isn’t good governing, it’s a re-election-driven cop-out that will undoubtedly be felt by working families across New York State. What will be trickling down to them is more financial and emotional hardships in the form of mass public sector layoffs and program cuts as schools and local governments continue to face unprecedented financial challenges. A true compromise would have seen the rich continue to pay what they have been paying the last three years — with the millionaires’ tax -— at least until all the budget crises in New York State are truly solved.