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Editorial: New York State feels pain on Wall Street

On the one year anniversary of the Occupy

On the one year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street, supporters of the movement gather in Battery Park City. (Sept. 17, 2012) Credit: Charles Eckert

It's time for a truce in the class warfare.

Every morning remnants of the Occupy Wall Street crowd gather on Broadway in Lower Manhattan to hector "the 1 percent" as workers in the Financial District emerge from the subway and trudge to their offices.

And while Mitt Romney has disavowed his comment about the "47 percent of Americans" who "consider themselves victims" and will vote for President Barack Obama because they're "dependent on government," the idea remains alive and well in some political circles.

As the Great Recession grinds on and the 2012 political season comes to a boil, too many New Yorkers want to blame each other for the pain they're feeling. They want to punish the rich or teach the poor a lesson. They should think again.

Nobody is getting a free ride. Consider these just-released figures:

New York saddles its businesses with the most onerous tax burden in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research group in Washington. New York City residents in the top bracket pay a combined state and local income-tax rate of 12.7 percent, the group says -- the highest in the nation. Just last December Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the State Legislature raised the state's top brackets by 29 percent for three years.

Meanwhile, reports state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, securities industry revenues plummeted by more than 20 percent from 2009 to 2011 and continued to drop by more than 7 percent in the first half of 2012.

The ripples of pain are felt statewide. DiNapoli estimates that one in 12 jobs in New York State is linked to the securities industry. In New York City, the proportion is one in seven.

In addition, activities related to the industry accounted for 14 percent of the state's tax revenues in the last fiscal year and 7 percent of the city's. Wall Street's problems could mean employment losses for Long Island in 2012 and a decline in local spending.

As for those who are struggling, not to mention those who are merely trying to stay solvent while government services cost more, here is the hand they've been dealt:

A 50 percent increase -- to $12 for a two-way trip -- in the peak-hour nondiscounted price for Port Authority's Hudson River crossings. The toll is projected to hit $13 in December and $15 by 2015.

A proposed jump of more than 9 percent in Long Island Rail Road monthly ticket prices as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority struggles to make ends meet.

If the MTA fare increases -- announced Monday -- take place for bus, subway, and commuter rail systems as scheduled, they will be the fourth price hike in five years. More than 8.5 million commuters in the metropolitan region may ultimately be affected.

So enough with the us-and-them talk.

Wall Street pays much of the freight for the region. When it hurts, we hurt. It's not about the 1 percenters and the rest of us. The truth is more complex. We're all in this together.