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The Empire

'So did the Governor really avoid a millionaires' tax' and other questions

Update: Well, turns out those confusing numbers was so for a reason. The numbers released by the Cuomo administration are in fact for joint filers--not single filers like I wrote. So take those numbers and halve them if you're feeling as a single person in NY. More tomorrow.

While Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are crowing about the big-picture tax and economic stimulus package they've agreed to (the chambers still have to vote on it), there remain some questions.

First of all, did the Governor really keep/break his promise to a) not raise taxes or b) let higher income earners off the hook? It depends on how you look at it.

I grabbed some numbers Jimmy Vielkind put together earlier and added the newest numbers coming from Albany. These are the new tax brackets and the old, individual tax brackets. I'm assuming for now the new brackets are just for individuals--but that is an assumption. It appears that's the case, but it wasn't specifically mentioned when the numbers were announced and no one from the Governor's office has called back to verify.

Moving along, the answer to the above question depends, of course, on where you sit. If you accept the Governor's method below, the current taxes as of today are what we should all be paying attention to--not the ones that were set to return in three weeks. Your numbers are the ones in black, and if you're a tax payer anywhere in the tax bracket you get a break--assuming that there's no taxes for those making under $40,000 a year. Again, that's what reports indicated, but nothing specifically was said in the release, the Governor's office hasn't called, etc.

But, if you saw the expiration of the upper-income surcharge as a tax break for those making more than $300,000 a year, then the Governor's not entirely keeping his word on taxes or the millionaires' tax. Your numbers are in red.

Of course, these taxes are set to raise $2 billion, leaving the Governor to find another $1.5 billion to cover the gap next year. And if you were in favor of the extension of a millionaires' tax andthe estimated $5 billion it could bring to state coffers, you're seeing $3 billion in revenues for schools or jobs or whatever your angle was go out the window.

It all depends on where you sit.