Hawkins Opposes Calls to Hike Sales Tax on Working Families

Howie Hawkins - Greens for Governor
Media Release

For Release: June 24, 2010
Howie Hawkins 315 425-1019

Repeats Call for Higher Taxes on Wall Street, Wealthy New Yorkers


Howie Hawkins, the Green Party nominee for Governor, strongly opposed the proposals being floated by State Democratic leaders to solve the state's budget deficit by hiking taxes on poor and moderate income families while continuing to protect Wall Street and other wealthy New Yorkers.


Democrats leaders are discussing reinstituting the 4 percent state sales tax on clothing and shoes costing less than $110, which could bring the state as much as $690 million. They are also discussing expanding the lottery's Quick Draw (aka Crack Draw) and allowing electronic table gambling games at racetrack casinos.


"The Democrats keep playing Robin Hood in reverse. They have the morals of loan sharks. Have they no shame? New York's tax system of local and state taxes already makes the lowest income residents pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than the wealthiest like Donald Trump. With a million New Yorkers out of work and the bankers and Wall Street proclaiming record profits in a scam to give themselves huge bonuses, we shouldn't balance this budget by making people pay more money to clothe their families. Instead we need to make Wall Street bail out Main Street," said Hawkins.


Hawkins has repeatedly called for a range of progressive tax initiatives to erase the state budget deficit, including a more progressive income tax that increases taxes on millionaires, a Banker's Bonus Tax, and a halt to the rebate of the Stock Transfer Tax. Hawkins points out the root cause of the problem is not excessive spending on essential services but a revenue problem from the Great Recession combined with the huge tax cuts for the wealthy in recent decades by both major parties.


According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, the poorest and middle class New Yorkers pay more of their income in state and local taxes than do folks with incomes at or above $1 million. The sales tax and gambling are especially regressive, hitting hardest on low-income households. The poorest 20% of New York residents pay 7.3% of their income in sales and excise taxes. The middle 20% pay 4.7%. The wealthiest 5% pay only 1.5% is sales and excise taxes. (http://www.itepnet.org/wp2009/ny_whopays_factsheet.pdf)


Raising the personal income tax by 1% for individuals making over $1 million a year would raise $ 1 billion a year or more in state revenues and would begin to level out the inequities in our tax system.


The state collected $16 billion from the Stock Transfer Tax last year - but then rebated it all back to the financial institutions on Wall Street.


Starting with Governor Mario Cuomo, NY has awarded huge tax cuts to the rich that now cost the state $16 billion annually in revenue. If NY went back to our income tax system of the 1970s, with adjustments for inflation, 95% of us would get a tax cut - yet the state would collect $8 billion more in taxes.


With Wall Street handing out over $20 billion in 2009 cash bonuses, a 50% Bankers' Bonus Tax on cash bonuses over $50,000 would generate another $10 billion for the state treasury.

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