December 17, 2008

Siena Poll: Voters show strong support for raising income tax on wealthy

Source: NYSUT News Wire

NYSUT has long made the case to increase revenue by raising the personal income tax on the wealthy and a new poll by Siena College Research Institute shows voters overwhelmingly agree.

The poll, released the day after Gov. Paterson unveiled his dire budget plan, found voters overwhelmingly (78-17 percent) support a personal income tax increase on those making more than $1 million and strongly support (61 to 31 percent) an increase on those making more than $250,000.

The poll found that if broad-based taxes are not increased, voters strongly oppose cuts in education (22 to 68 percent) and health care (21-65 percent). The survey was conducted Dec. 8-11 by telephone calls to 622 New York state registered voters.

Voters also strongly support adequately funding for higher education. The poll found two-thirds of voters oppose using an increase in SUNY and CUNY tuition to help balance the state budget, rather than improve higher education. The governor has proposed directing only 10 percent of this spring's tuition hike for use by the colleges.

NYSUT has repeatedly made the point that the state cannot cut its way out of this fiscal downturn. During times of crisis government must looks for ways to increase revenues. Restructuring the state income tax to shift more of the burden to those who can most afford to pay would actually reduce the tax burden for lower-income and middle-class families while ensuring everyone pays their fair share.