It comes as no surprise to working families that New York State’s tax system is fundamentally unfair. Low- and middle-income workers pay, on average, a much higher share of their income in state and local taxes than the highest income earners. According to analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, the 40% of New York’s tax filers with the lowest incomes pay at least 10% of their income in state and local taxes and the 20% of households in the middle of the income distribution pay nearly 12%. The wealthiest 1%, on the other hand, pay less than seven percent of their income in state and local taxes.
Taxpayers don’t have to accept this fundamental unfairness. New York State enacted several tax cuts this year, but the beneficiaries were mostly high-income households, large corporations and banks. These tax cuts will make it hard for the state to adequately fund core priorities like local education aid or aid to struggling local governments, but New York should improve the fairness of its tax structure by expanding its Earned Income Tax Credit.