Overwhelming majority of New Yorkers support taxing the ultra-rich

ALBANY — Most New Yorkers think the rich can afford to contribute a little more in taxes.

A new poll released Monday by a group of labor unions shows that an overwhelming majority of state residents support new taxes on millionaires and billionaires as well as an increased fee on high-priced second homes in the city.

The survey, conducted by D.C.-based Hart Research Associates, found 92% of respondents support increasing revenue by applying a 2% state tax on a taxpayer’s wealth greater than $1 billion, raising the state income tax rate on income above $5 million per year and placing a new tax on luxury homes and apartments in New York that are worth more than $5 million and are not a primary residence.

“It’s clear the people of our state, union men and women, and students across New York are all on the same page that there needs to be a comprehensive approach on the budget,” said United University Professions President Fred Kowal. “To ensure quality health care, public education and public services, tax revenue must be strategically generated from those who can most afford it. All New Yorkers need to pay their fair share for New York to make real progress.”

With the state facing a projected $6 billion budget gap, advocates have been pushing for increasing taxes on rich New Yorkers and calling on the state to use the funds for progressive programs including a guaranteed right to housing for all New Yorkers, an expanded Green New Deal and other ambitious plans that would transform the state.

Democrat lawmakers in the state Legislature have warmed to the idea, proposing several bills this session that align with the advocates’ requests.

The unions behind Monday’s poll, the New York State United Teachers, the United Federation of Teachers, United University Professions, Professional Staff Congress, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, and Communications Workers of America.

“Albany cannot balance its budget by shifting its costs onto the backs of our children, sick, elderly and struggling families,” said UFT president Michael Mulgrew said. “Not in New York City, nor anywhere else. We know there are better solutions to deal with the deficit — millionaires and billionaires shouldering more of their fair share.”

The poll found that 64% of voters say implementing new taxes on the super-rich would have a positive impact on New York’s economy. Another 72% say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who favors passing new taxes on ultramillionaires.

“It’s hard to walk down some Manhattan blocks without bumping into a multimillionaire,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “So while some say it may be hard to consider tax proposals in an election year, we say that it’s hard for our schools to go without the social workers, classroom technology and supplies they need because the state wouldn’t ask the ultrawealthy to pay their fair share.”