Just after 9pm, the New York State Senate voted unanimously -- 55 to 0 -- in favor of a sweeping overhaul of the New York State tax code. The new law increases the tax rate on single filers earning more than $1 million a year ($2 million for married filing jointly), and decreases it for just about everyone else.
The bill now heads to the Assembly, where it's expected to pass.
For a reform of this magnitude, this has all unfolded very quickly. On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo sent a press release -- dubbed an "op-ed" -- to newspapers across the state, arguing for an overhaul of the tax code. On Tuesday, Cuomo and key members of the state legislature announced that they had made a deal on a state income tax overhaul. And today, the legislature met in special session to vote on the bill.
Casey Seiler of the Times-Union's Capitol Confidential blog writes that the legislators couldn't possibly have had time to read the bill before voting on it.
Here's the text of the new bill. (Of note for the flood-ravaged Catskills: The bill includes language on tax relief for homeowners who have lost property in Tropical Storm Irene or Lee, and establishes a flood-recovery grant program for small businesses, farms, multiple dwellings and not-for-profits.)
A hot-off-the-press analysis of the bill and its new tax brackets from Bloomberg News, which reports that about $400 million of the additional revenue raised by the bill will be put toward flood relief and youth employment.
Though NY1 says only $50 million for flood relief and youth jobs is in the bill. (Who's right? We haven't had time to read it, either.)
A story on the deal behind the bill from the New York Times. The Times notes that the tax overhaul won't bring in as much revenue as extending the soon-to-expire "millionaires' tax" would, but won't cut revenue as much as letting the tax expire:
The long-term impact on the wealthy was described by some as a cut and others as an increase: beginning next year, the highest-income earners will be taxed at a lower rate than at present, but at a higher rate than had been expected with the expiration of the surcharge.
The changes, which the Legislature could vote on as early as Wednesday, would net $1.9 billion in annual revenue; the expiring surcharge had been generating about $4 billion a year.