New York Millionaires Write to Govenor Andrew Cuomo Asking for Higher Taxes


 |  | By 




Human beings asking for higher taxes? Since when?! Since now, apparently.

More than 40 millionaires from New York wrote and signed a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo asking for higher taxes for the top one percent. According to the Washington Post, a copy of the letter was given to the Associated Press, which said “additional revenue is needed to address child poverty, homelessness and aging bridges, tunnels, waterlines and roads.”


Some of the people that signed the letter are Abigail Disney, Steven C. Rockefeller, Leo Hindery, and Agnes Gund.

“As New Yorkers who have contributed to and benefited from the economic vibrancy of our state, we have both the ability and the responsibility to pay our fair share,” the letter states. “We can well afford to pay our current taxes, and we can afford to pay even more.”

I believe that’s called “paying it forward.”

The plan is known as the one-percent plan, and would create new and higher taxes for those earning $665,000 a year or more. Right now, only those earning $1,062,000 or more pay 8.82 percent, the state’s highest rate. However, under the new plan, the 8.82 percent (such a random number) would only apply to those making between $1 million and $2 million, while those earning $2 million to $10 million would get a higher rate of 9.35, and between $10 million and $100 million would get 9.65 percent, and 9.99 percent is reserved for those raking in more than $100 million (seriously, where do they get these numbers?).

Hindery said in the letter, “As a businessman and philanthropist and as a citizen of New York state, I believe we need to invest in our people and our infrastructure … The one-percent tax plan makes it possible to make these investments, and simply asks people like me to continue to pay a higher tax rate, as we should.”

Leo Hindery for president, anyone?

As awesome as this proposal sounds, though, the chances of it actually coming to fruition are slim.

The Washington Post reports that the Democratic party has its own plan for taxing the wealthy while Republicans in the legislature just don’t support raising taxes at all.

Could this plan be a solution to our crumbling economy and infrastructure? Possibly. You never know until you try.

The full text of the letter can be read below:

Wealthy New Yorkers Support Progressive Taxation

Dear Governor Cuomo and Legislative Leaders,

We are upper‐income New Yorkers who treasure the quality of life in our state. However, we are deeply concerned that too many New Yorkers are struggling economically, and the state’s ailing infrastructure is in desperate need of attention. We cannot afford to ignore these challenges.

As business leaders and investors, we know that the long-term stability and growth of a company requires investments in both its human capital and physical infrastructure. The same is true for our state.

It is a shameful fact that child poverty in New York State is at a record level, exceeding 50 percent in some of our urban centers. New York State has a record number of homeless families — more than 80,000 people — struggling to survive across the state. And far too many adults in our state do not have the work skills needed for the 21st century economy.

Now is the time to invest in the long-term economic viability of New York. We need to invest in pathways out of poverty and up the economic ladder for all of our fellow citizens, including strong public education from pre-K to college. And, we need to invest in the fragile bridges, tunnels, waterlines, public buildings, and roads that we all depend on. These human and physical infrastructure investments will pay off in the creation of new jobs, a workforce prepared to fill them, and a reduction in the extreme income inequality that currently exists in our state.

The question is: how do we pay for those investments? In the spirit of shared sacrifice, we, the undersigned, call for a balanced solution that includes maintaining, expanding, and making permanent the top marginal income tax rates for upper-income New Yorkers like us who can afford to pay more. Specifically, we urge the Governor and the Legislature to implement the “1% Plan for New York Tax Fairness”, which calls for new marginal rates of 7.65%, 8.82%, 9.35%, 9.65% and 9.99% for brackets starting at $665,000 (the top 1% of earners in our state), $1 million, $2 million, $10 million and $100 million, respectively.

We also urge our elected leaders to make permanent the lower tax rates for working families, ranging from 4% to 6.85%, before they expire next year. If the temporary tax rates at all levels are allowed to expire, it will mean a $1 billion dollar tax increase for middle class families and a $3.7 billion dollar windfall tax cut for millionaires like us.

As New Yorkers who have contributed to and benefited from the economic vibrancy of our state, we have both the ability and the responsibility to pay our fair share. We can well afford to pay our current taxes, and we can afford to pay even more. Our state needs to invest this revenue in our struggling schools, in anti-poverty measures and in infrastructure improvements. Our state’s long‐term economic prosperity depends on strong investments in our people and our communities.

Everyone does better when everyone does better. We urge Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature to expand the current “Millionaires Tax” and ensure that upper-income New Yorkers like us keep doing their part to invest in our state.


Sonia Alexander, NYC * Elyse Arnow-Brill, Joshua Arnow, Pound Ridge * Roy Berberich, Mineola * Polly Cleveland and Thomas Haines, NYC * Arthur Cornfield, NYC * Louis B. Cullman and Louise Hirshfeld Cullman, NYC * Pierce Delahunt, NYC * Anne Delaney, NYC * Abigail Disney, NYC * Barbara Fleischman, NYC * Sarah Frank, NYC * Rosemary Faulkner, NYC * Elspeth Gilmore, NYC * Steven and Mary Goldring, NYC * Agnes Gund, NYC * Catherine Gund, NYC * Leo Hindery Jr., NYC * Polly Howell & Eric Werthman, Glenford * Marion Hunt, NYC * Craig Kaplan & Anne Hess, NYC * Dal LaMagna, NYC * Ruth and David A. Levine, NYC * Michael A. and Ann Ross Loeb, NYC * Joshua Mailman, NYC * James and Jacqueline Mann, Mt Kisco, NYC * Mark Nelkin, NYC * Jan Nicholson, NYC * Susan Ochshorn and Marc I. Gross, NYC * Richard Perl, NYC * Seth Perlman, NYC * Karen Pittelman, NYC * Mark Reed, NYC * Steven C. Rockefeller, NYC * Darius A. Ross, NYC * Martin Rothenburg, Syracuse * Lindsay Shea, Germantown * Daniel A. Simon, NYC * Lynn Stern, NYC * Jessie Spector, NYC * Sarah Stranahan, NYC * Peter Strugatz, East Hampton


Share This Story On Facebook