Bonacic: Keep the millionaires' tax

Fresh from the New York Times's City Room blog: GOP state senator John Bonacic, whose district includes territory from Delaware, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster Counties, has thrown his support behind a move to extend the so-called "millionaires' tax" in New York State. Provided it can be tweaked so it only applies to actual millionaires, that is.

The senator, John J. Bonacic, said he supported extending the surcharge if it was limited to individuals making a million dollars or more.

The current surcharge, which expires at the end of the year, kicks in on income over $200,000 for individuals and $300,000 for families. Mr. Bonacic also said his bill would earmark the additional revenue for some combination of education aid — softening the impact of some of Mr. Cuomo’s proposed cuts — as well as property tax rebates for middle-class homeowners.

“I personally believe that there is merit to raising the threshold of the millionaire’s tax and extending it for millionaires,” Mr. Bonacic said in an interview.

Bonacic went public with his support for the tax on a tumultuous day in Albany. All day long, protestors from the Alliance for Quality Education have been occupying the Capitol building to protest planned cuts in education funding, chanting "Protect our kids, not millionaires." (The Times-Union pegged the crowd at about 1,200; the New York Daily News reported "a few hundred.")

Though the drive to extend the millionaires' tax has plenty of support among Senate and Assembly Democrats, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is determined to let the tax expire. From a January story in the New York Post:

Cuomo indicated that renewing the surcharge would amount to a tax hike, which would violate his campaign pledge not to boost taxes.

"The old way of solving the problem was continuing to raise taxes on people, and we just can't do that anymore. The working families of New York cannot afford tax increases. The answer is going to have to be that we're going to have to reduce government spending," he said.