Tax the Rich; Not Us
by Mike Tolochko
The United University Professions, an affiliate of the New York State United Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers passed a resolution today demanding that the Legislature and Governor enact a progressive tax to get New YORK STATE out of the financial crisis. If revenue is the issue, UUP said that revenue must not come from those who are already in crisis.
UUP represent 35,000 all teaching personnel, professors, etc, and, also professional personnel in NY State hospitals. There are also over 3,000 retirees of the UUP.
The resolution passed today's Delegate Assembly of 286 by a 123 to 67 margin. Most of the 67 were delegates who didn't think the progressive tax should be the TOP legislative issue. Overall, the resolution enjoyed overwhelming support. The resolution came from the economically hard hit Buffalo area UUP Chapters where the president of SUNY Buffalo is attempting draconian measures to balance his budget.
HERE IS THE RESOLUTION
Progressive Tax in New York State
Whereas levels of taxation, under balanced budget requirements, drive the ability of the state to fund services, while high income persons are most able to pay taxes,
Whereas state-supported services provide very many of the needs of the residents of New York State, and the incomes workers receive in providing these services sustain their families and their communities and improve the welfare and economic activity of the state,
Whereas more than one hundred economists in New York State on December 13, 2008 called for an increase I the taxation of high income earners as a significant aid to improving the state's economy and sustain those in most need,
Whereas the press release of the Fiscal Policy Institute, dated August 5, 2008, reminds us that New York has the most unequal distribution of incomes among the fifty states, and that in no other state does the highest one percent [1%] of taxpayers receive so much more relative to the entire bottom half [50%] of taxpayers, i.e., 2.68 to 1.
Whereas the top income tax rate in New York has fallen from 15.375% in 1976 to 6.85% presently, and the top rate is achieved for those filing jointly with income levels merely passing $40,000,
Whereas, the state budget crisis can be overcome through restoration of progressivity across the three major tax revenues – sales, property and income – and that income tax is the principle means of overcoming regressivity of taxation,
Whereas adding progressivity into the New York State income taxation – in which the tax income rate begins to rise from 8.375% at $200,000 incomes to 12.375% for incomes above $10 million – would, together with the anticipated increase in federal disbursement to New York State, solve the budget balance starting with the upcoming fiscal year, and
Whereas a campaign centered around restoring progressivity to the New York State taxation would place UUP in a leadership position across the unionized work force, as well as with wide sectors of the New York State population, at a time when such consideration is more needed than ever,
BE IT RESOLVED that UUP adopts a policy that restoring progressivity to New York State's taxation through increasing the income tax rate on the high-income earners is the most equitable and effective means of maintaining services for residents across the state and furthermore significantly aids stabilizing the economy, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the President of UUP set up an urgent task force to place this policy before the people of New York, our representatives in the legislature, the Governor; and work with public-and private-sector unions, including affiliates NYSUT, AFT, and the NYS AFL-CIO, toward the same objective, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that UUP use at least one-third of its media outreach budget to focus specifically upon this policy, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that UUP request of other unions and our affiliates to their using part of their media budget toward the same policy