New York Taxpayers voting with their feet
Gov. David A. Paterson (D) and lawmakers approved a state budget that will raise $4 billion in new income taxes this year on wealthier residents. In Golisano's case -and anyone else making more than $500,000 this year - he is seeing his state tax rate go from 6.85 percent to 8.97 percent.
But the departure of Golisano, perhaps along with others, puts that $4 billion bonus in question. Indeed, if the tax spurs enough higher income residents to flee the state--taking their companies, spending habits and other revenue generators with them--the tax can actually decrease state revenues.
[O]ne government critic said there will be plenty more moving vans taking millionaires and billionaires from New York. "We are driving people away that can afford to leave the state, and that is a very sad commentary," said Michael Long, chairman of the state's Conservative Party.
Golisano and Long say that wealthy people leaving the state end up taking companies and jobs with them, and that the state's high income and property taxes keep many more corporate executives from considering New York as a place to locate their businesses.
"People aren't going to allow the government to reach into their pockets and take their net worth away that they have worked their entire life for," Long said.
But Stephen Madarasz, a spokesman for the Civil Service Employees Association, the biggest state and local government workers union, dismissed the criticism.
"It sounds like sour grapes and a little bit of greenmail," he said of Golisano. He said the union's job is merely to improve the economic well-being of its members. "All we're trying to do is make New York a better place to live."