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Dems seek to revive 'true' millionaires' tax

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, with from left, Assembly

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, with from left, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre). (March 27, 2011) Credit: AP

Following through on an earlier promise, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) has revived his push for a "true" millionaires' tax.

 First, a bit of back story. Following the Wall Street meltdown of 2008, lawmakers slapped a temporary surcharge on high-earning New Yorkers. Any individual earning more than $200,000 in annual taxable income would be subject to an 8.97 percent personal-income tax rate. And on Jan. 1, 2012, the rate for those individuals would fall back to where it was before, 6.85 percent.

Fast forward to this March, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo negotiated a budget deal that trimmed state spending about $3 billion that cut school and health aid and failed to renew the surcharge - over the objections of many fellow Democrats.

Now, Silver has introduced legislation to create what he calls a true millionaires' tax, by applying the surcharge to those who earn $1 million or more annually. He took action on the day New Yorkers across the state went to the polls to vote on local school budgets. Silver called renewal of the tax a "moral imperative."

"We should not give a special handout to multi-millionaires and billionaires while our children's educational needs are in jeopardy," Silver said in a statement.

Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) have been steadfastly opposed to what they call any new broad-based taxes.

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