We Can Make New York More Affordable

New York has an affordability crisis. From housing and healthcare to education, most New Yorkers are finding it increasingly difficult to stay above water. 

National trends like skyrocketing inflation make even buying the essentials like groceries more unaffordable. In New York, we feel the impacts of the affordability crisis especially hard because our state ranks highest in the nation when it comes to income inequality.1 New York also has the largest wealth inequality and the largest racial wealth gap in the nation.2

New York’s Growing Inequality

At the same time, New York has the highest concentration of extreme wealth in the country. Over the last few decades, the incomes of CEOs and the top 1% and top 0.01% have grown astronomically, while the incomes of the rest of us have barely risen.3

Our state’s tax system could help level the playing field and make things fairer for all New Yorkers rather than placing a heavier burden on working- and middle-class families. By fairly taxing corporations and the ultra-wealthy, New York could raise revenues to pay for the services that improve all residents’ quality of life. 

Having a more progressive tax system is about fairness. Simply put, it means everyone pays their fair share. Under our current system, middle-income earners are paying the most, while the top 1% of earners pay the same or less than the bottom 40% of earners — that’s unfair.4 Much of the concentrated wealth that New York’s top earners hold can’t even be taxed under current law — and that’s to the tune of nearly $4 trillion going untaxed.5

While the governor had pledged to never raise taxes, unions and other advocates are fighting for a more progressive tax system to help provide immediate relief for working New Yorkers and build sustainable revenue for necessary services in the long run.

Funding New York’s Future

Fortunately, we have solutions. We have examples of people in other states pushing back and winning fair taxation. Raising taxes on the ultra-wealthy is popular policy, with majority support from New Yorkers across all demographics.6

Other states like New Jersey and California have increased taxes on the highest earners years ago and have not seen “millionaire flight.” On the contrary, their millionaire populations have grown substantially. Even President Joe Biden is making raising taxes on the ultra-wealthy a national priority saying in his State of the Union address, “No billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a teacher, a sanitation worker, a nurse.”

It’s Time to Invest in Our New York

With solutions like progressive personal income tax reform, capital gains tax, corporate tax reform, heirs tax and the billionaires tax, New York could generate billions of dollars of revenue to stabilize the economy and help New Yorkers thrive.

With sustained revenue, we can invest in healthcare, housing access and equity, quality education for every New Yorker, childcare and other family supports, and fixing the public sector Tier 6 pension program to recruit and retain the public sector workforce that keeps New York running.

That’s why NYSNA has joined forces with our labor allies like the Communication Workers of America and supporting coalition partners like the Invest in Our NY campaign. We worked together just a few years ago to make modest but critical improvements to New York’s tax system, and we can do it again.

1 https://fiscalpolicy.rg/inequality-in-new-york-options-for-progressive-tax-reform
2 https://comptroller.nyc.gov/reports/the-racial-wealth-gap-in-new-york/#racial-wealth-inequality-in-new-york-state
3 https://www.epi.org/blog/wage-inequality-fell-in-2022-because-stock-market-declines-brought-down-pay-of-the-highest-earners-but-top-1-wages-have-skyrocketed-171-7-since-1979-while-bottom-90-wages-have-seen-just-32-9-growth/
4 https://fiscalpolicy.org/inequality-in-new-york-options-for-progressive-tax-reform
5 https://itep.org/the-geographic-distribution-of-extreme-wealth-in-the-u-s/#appendix-c
6 https://www.investinourny.org/ 2024poll

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