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New York Press Release

For Immediate Release: July 30, 2012
Contact: Sean Collins, 910.381.5815scollins@citizenactionny.org

Report Shows Need to End Bush-era Tax Cuts for Wealthiest 2%

Ending Tax Cuts for Wealthy Saves $68 Billion in First Year, $1 Trillion Over Next Decade

Wealthy Few Would Reap Huge Tax Breaks at the Expense of Other New Yorkers

New York – 96% of New Yorkers would see a cut in their taxes under Obama’s proposal to end tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%. In contrast, the Republican proposal would extend those tax breaks while ending the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit that working families rely on.

Those are among the key findings in a new report released today by Citizen Action of New York, Time to Pay Their Fair Share: New Yorkers Can’t Afford to Extend Bush-era Tax Cuts for the Wealthy Few. The report is authored by Americans for Tax Fairness, Citizens for Tax Justice and the National Women’s Law Center.

The report comes as the House of Representatives votes this week on the Republican plan to extend all the Bush tax cuts, including for the richest 2% while ending improvements in tax credits for working families. An alternative plan similar to President Obama’s, that would end tax breaks for a wealthy few and maintain improvements, passed the Senate last week.

The report also comes as Citizen Action and its allies host actions across the state to celebrate the anniversary of Medicare, which would be virtually dismantled under the Ryan budget in the House.

“Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of Medicare, the Republicans in Congress want to destroy Medicare in order to give over $1 trillion in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans,” said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York, a statewide grassroots group. “The Republican budget plan ends Medicare as we know it, moving nearly 3 million New Yorkers to vouchers in place of guaranteed benefits. The tax cuts will also mean cutting billions of dollars per year in critical federal funding to New York to maintain our highways, improve our schools, ensure clean drinking water and provide vital services for children and seniors. New Yorkers can’t afford more tax breaks for the wealthy.”

Major findings of the report include:

  • 96 out of 100 New Yorkers would get about the same tax cut under the Obama plan as they have up until now.
  • 4 percent of New Yorkers have an average income of $922,000 – the other 96 percent make about $57,000 non average
  • Under Obama’s plan, New Yorkers making less than $25,000 would receive tax cut almost twice as large as they would under the Republican – $280 from Obama, on average, compared to $150 from Republicans.

The Republican plan to extend Bush-era tax cuts for top earners will cost approximately $68 billion next year alone. That’s equal to what the federal government spends to repair highways, improve education and provide school breakfasts for low-income children, ensure clean drinking water, and deliver meals at home to senior citizens. The report outlines what New York’s share of these funds means for residents:

  • Highway Planning and Construction: New York will receive $1.5 billion in federal funds in FY 2012 to help it plan, build, and repair highways and bridges and support other transportation improvements.
  • Title 1 funding to support K-12 education: New York will receive $1.1 billion in federal funds in FY 2012 for grants to local school districts serving disadvantaged children. In the 2009-2010 school year, 4,259 New York schools serving more than 2.4 million New York children were eligible for this funding.
  • Head Start and Early Head Start preschool programs: New York will receive $495.6 million in federal funds in FY 2012 for Head Start, which helps preschool-age children in low-income families build the skills they need to succeed in school.
  • Make Drinking Water Safer: New York will receive $216.4 million in federal funds in FY 2012 to construct water treatment facilities and ensure clean drinking water.

“A tax cut for 96 out of 100 New Yorkers makes good economic sense,” said Michael Kink, Executive Director of the Strong Economy For All Coalition, a community-labor group that led last year’s successful effort to establish a state Millionaires Tax in New York.  “And asking the very richest to do their patriotic duty and pay their fair share in taxes is totally reasonable – our country can’t afford to demolish schools and front-line services for seniors and low-income kids just to give more special breaks to the wealthy.”

“The Republicans in Congress are again showing how little they care about the majority of hard working Americans. Working families continue to fall further behind financially while the wealthiest Americans continue to see their incomes skyrocket. Now is the time for a paradigm shift. Now is the time to ask the wealthiest  to pay their fair share in taxes so that we can afford to pay down the debt and rebuild our ailing physical and human infrastructure. We must invest in America it we want to grow America,” said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness.

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