Assembly Speaker Defends Proposal To Hike Taxes on ‘Millionaires’

ALBANY (AP) -

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Wednesday defended his proposal to raise taxes on millionaires, calling it a fair way to raise needed revenue despite strong opposition from Senate Republicans and a shrug from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Despite the challenges, Heastie vowed to continue pushing his proposal, which would raise income taxes on the state’s wealthiest workers while extending some tax benefits to middle- and low-income residents.

“This is about fairness and equity, and asking those who can to do just a little bit more so it can improve the lives of many, many others,” the Bronx Democrat said on public radio’s “The Capitol Pressroom.”

But unless he can do something to change the minds of Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan or Cuomo, the tax hike isn’t going anywhere.

Flanagan (R-Long Island) has said he’s opposed to raising taxes on anyone. Cuomo, a Democrat, dismissed the idea earlier this week.

“I don’t believe there’s any reason or appetite to take up taxes this year,” he told reporters Tuesday.

Heastie’s plan, which would raise an estimated $1.2 billion, would impose the state’s current top income tax rate of 8.82 percent on anyone making between $1 million and $5 million a year; more for higher earners.

The proposal would also reduce tax rates for middle class taxpayers and offer an increase in the earned-income tax credit to low-income workers.