Dear Governor Cuomo and members of the New York State Legislature,
New York is a wealthy state with a growing economy and solid economic indicators. However, New York leads the nation in income inequality and has many significant unmet needs – in education, health care, housing, human services, infrastructure, the environment and more. Although a leader on several economic and policy issues, our state is not meeting the needs of all New Yorkers.
We are upper-income New Yorkers who value the quality of life in our great state. As business leaders and investors, we know that to have a broadly shared, robust economic future, the State of New York needs to invest in the education, health and welfare of its citizens, and invest in the technology and infrastructure on which a strong economy depends.
As top-tier taxpayers, we can and should be asked to do more to contribute to a more equitable state tax structure. Taxing income above $1 million at 9.62% (up from the current 8.82% marginal rate), income above $5 million at 10.32%, income over $10 million at 11.32%, and income over $100 million at 11.82% would result in $4.5 billion in additional annual revenue from those of us most able to pay to help our state meet its needs.
Secondly, we support a mark-to-market asset tax on taxpayers with $1 billion or more in assets. Currently, wealthy taxpayers earning income through ownership of assets are taxed on our realized capital gains only upon the sale of those assets – a system that encourages maneuvering to minimize tax liability. A fair tax structure would require determining an asset's current value and requiring asset holders to pay an annual tax on the gain in the value of that asset.
Finally, we believe the state should raise additional revenue by taxing luxury homeowners' unoccupied second, third or fourth residential properties valued at over $5 million. This is a small step forward.
As wealthy New Yorkers in the top 1% of income and/or assets in the state, we have both contributed to and benefited from the vibrancy of our state. Our standard of living will not be diminished by being asked to pay a few more percentage points of tax per year to fund the critical unmet needs of our state. However, if the state fails to ask us to pay our fair share, then the quality of life for all New Yorkers will, in fact, be diminished.
New York's future depends on all of us investing our fair share in taxes.
Harley Brown, Brooklyn
Arthur Cornfeld, New York
Abigail Disney, New York
Edith Everett, New York
Elaine and Steven Farbman, New York
Rosemary Faulkner, New York
Rick Feldman, New York
Elspeth Gilmore, New York
Molly Gochman, New York
Catherine Gund, New York
Leo Hindery, Jr., New York
Beth Jacobs, Brooklyn
Craig Kaplan and Anne Hess, New York
Sam Jacobs, Brooklyn
Michael and Ann Ross Loeb, New York
Dal LaMagna and Sara Drew, New York
Darius Alexander Ross, New York
Terence Meehan, New York
Angela Mellon, Southhampton
Sarah Mellon, New York
Morris Pearl, New York
Seth and Jodi Perlman, New York
Karen Pittelman, Brooklyn
James and Jaqueline Mann, Mt. Kisco
Lindsay Shea, Germantown
Daniel Simon, New York
James Simon, New York
Lynn G. Straus, Mamaroneck
Adrienne Wong, Brooklyn