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New Data: Rich Gain Greatest Share Ever of NY Income

December 14, 2010

NEW YORK - The rich are getting richer all across the United States, but a new report finds New York State at the very top when it comes to concentration of wealth, and the same goes for New York City. The report says extension of the Bush tax cuts will likely exacerbate that situation by giving tax breaks to the richest New Yorkers in excess of $100,000, while those at the bottom will gain less than $300.

James Parrott, deputy director and chief economist at the Fiscal Policy Institute, says they studied 2007 state income tax returns and found the rich are pulling away from the middle class and low-income people in New York faster than anywhere else in the nation.

"So the top one percent in New York City today have more than the bottom 95 percent and in New York State the top five percent wealthiest have more than the bottom 95 percent."

Parrott says the current tax deal being debated in the nation's capitol will only perpetuate the problem, because it gives very little money back to those at the bottom, who are most likely to spend it quickly and stimulate the economy.

"The 20 percent of the population with the smallest incomes will get less than $300 versus the $124,000 at the top. That is not a well-designed tax cut to promote economic growth. "

President Obama reluctantly signed on to extension of the Bush administration tax cuts because he says it will stimulate the economy. But Parrott says the recovery is being stalled because average workers are not being rewarded for productivity, especially in New York.

"New York State has the most polarized income distribution of all 50 states, and among the largest 25 cities, New York City's degree of polarization exceeds that of all others."

Parrott says the U.S. economy historically has grown the best when all income levels grow together, but these latest data show the gap between rich and poor growing wider.

The report is at www.fiscalpolicy.org


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY