The Ravitch Plan

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Senior fellow for Tax and Budgetary Studies at the Manhattan Institute and director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, E.J. McMahon and deputy director and chief economist at the Fiscal Policy Institute, James Parrott discuss Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch's plan to borrow money to solve current fiscal problems, as well as his long-term reforms for the budget process.


E.J. McMahon and James Parrott

Comments [36]

jeff from bklyn

Mr. MacMahon never misses a chance
to advise shorting public workers. A fiscal
crisis is only an opportunity for him.

Mar. 12 2010 12:23 AM
hjs from 11211

your leibermann isn't helping, can u get him out??

Mar. 11 2010 11:31 AM
Frank Scully from Queens

I am really tired of "experts" bringing up the CPI and claiming the inflation is or at, near zero.
CPI does not distinguish between mandatory and discretionary spending. Yes, the price of a computer is down. The price of a flat screen TV is down. But,you know what, I don't buy a computer every day. I don't eat computers or flat screen TVs. If my health insurance cost goes up 30%, I don't have much choice about that purchase. How about food?

Mar. 11 2010 11:30 AM
Theresa from connecticut

What can we do now? When are the peace marches in Manhattan? Where is the pitch fork mob and where do I join them with my pitch fork?

Free market capitalism is the great sin of the world.

Mar. 11 2010 11:25 AM
hjs from 11211

doctors should make less for helping people while insurance company's suits cash their bonus checks? is that what u mean?

Mar. 11 2010 11:13 AM
hjs from 11211

i did not hear which of the 'better' states u are moving to after ur house sells.
it's great to retire somewhere else but try getting a job in hill billy country!

enjoy you new life, maybe mexico has no taxes

ps a friend moved to cheap rent & low tax GA and could not get a job. she back up in NY paying those taxes and cashing her pay check.

Mar. 11 2010 11:05 AM
Katie from Queens


Yes because NYS is so much better than the rest of the country? We pay the most taxes and get nothing more from it. You can compare the worst states to NY, but remember there are 50 of them and many offer a better lifestyle, affordability education and more importantly jobs. I am a life long resident and I've had enough.Many of my family and friends have moved out over the years and live a far nicer lifestyle and have no regrets. Enjoy being left holding the bag as the state bankrupts itself. Eventually all that will be left are state workers with a handful of worthless IOUs and people on the public dole.

Also, why do you think retirees move out of the state (even ones on state pensions), besides weather ---- TAXES. and we give it tax free to other states. I've had enough.

Mar. 11 2010 10:55 AM

Maybe doctors should make less money.

Mar. 11 2010 10:54 AM

Dave Thornton - you may be surprised that people move to Westchester to take advantage of such a good school system. Why shouldn't your wife make as much as a doctor? It's a tough job.

At least you get what you pay for. Where I live it's about the same and the schools suck!

Mar. 11 2010 10:53 AM
hjs from 11211

in some state schools might go to a 4 day week. i bet the folks in those states pay low taxes and the students, well the stats speak for them selves....

Mar. 11 2010 10:52 AM
Katie from Queens

Bill (17),
I', no apologist for the wealthy, combined as a family we don't break 6 figures and we struggle to get by on what would be a decent income anywhere else. That said. even if everyone in NYS paid the same rate, lets for argument sake say 7%. 7% of 50,000 or 7% of 5,000,000 are very different amounts heading up to Albany. All these people who talk about millionaires paying the same as the rest of us have failed basic mathematics.

I wouldn't give this state a single dime more unless they make some major cuts. And not these baloney headline grabbing cuts they always go for to rile everyone up and give good news stories but big systemic cuts to budget - even the sacred cows and salaries.

Mar. 11 2010 10:50 AM
a. g. from hudson county nj

manhattan institute=demented fiscal policy,crazy corporate windbags,and nutsy robo-voiced little nicole.

Mar. 11 2010 10:50 AM
Dave Thornton from Westchester

In Westchester County, school taxes = 70 % of your property tax bill and 70-80% of those taxes go to salaries and benefits. My wife is a teacher and she is overpaid. Figure out the salaries, pension benefits, health care benefits and she makes more than doctors per hour. The school district even pays her to NOT take the health insurance. How out of whack with the local economies!

Mar. 11 2010 10:49 AM
hjs from 11211


there's always someone ready to take your place. don't let the door hit u on the way out!

where are you going any way some 3rd world country like alabama, our taxes are supporting them already.

Mar. 11 2010 10:46 AM

Teachers' salaries aren't the problem. Sure, they get paid a lot, but they should. Teaching should be a desirable job.

Having said that, there's something wrong with the educational system. We pay something like 30K plus per kid to go to a public school. Three kids covers the salary of a teacher. And what's worse is that a lot of kids aren't getting a good education and some are hardly getting an education at all.

Cutting education? I hate the idea that fixing a problem is solved by taking all the money away. That makes no sense at all, outside of Republican think tanks.

Mar. 11 2010 10:46 AM
RCT from NYC

Corrections (as I said, we're tired):

The wealthy aren't leaving, but the professional middle-class will leave if taxes keep going up.

Coincidentally, my entire family -- all three of us -- are not speaking to one other this morning due to an unexpected bill that arrived after we'd emptied our pockets to pay all the other monthly bills, and everyone was "maxed out" in every sense of the word.

We live in a NYC suburb with high property taxes. We pay income taxes, the AMT, local taxes, high utility bills, etc. How much more can we afford?

Frankly, I'd rather move out of state and be on speaking terms with my family. The stress is just -- er -- TOO MUCH!

Mar. 11 2010 10:44 AM
Dave from L.I.

Yup that's the solution, borrow to cure a problem caused by too much spending, very similar to drinking yourself sober. This current budget year with revenues falling the geniuses in Albany raised the budget about 10%. Who could have known this would have led to increased deficits? These people don't know basic math? (Yeah I'm being sarcastic)

Next election get rid of EVERY incumbent. Until they get spending under control I favor no tax increases.

Mar. 11 2010 10:42 AM
hjs from 11211

what is with all this union bashing?

if these jobs were SO great these guys in the fancy suits would be filling out the job applications!

Mar. 11 2010 10:41 AM
RCT from NYC

I'd also like to side with the teacher who has just called. My sister is a teacher. We both have graduate degrees and are skilled, experienced professional. She earns 1/3 my income. As a math teacher, her skills would bring her big bucks in the private sector.

How will NY keep people like my sister in the system if they don't at least keep their salaries at cost-of-living levels?

Mar. 11 2010 10:41 AM
Bill Israel from Dix Hills, NY

NYS tax rates:
ax Rate

Joint Filers

Head of Household Filers

Single Filers*


< $11,000

< $8,000

























notice that, for those whose taxable income is between 40001-300000, the tax rate is the same (married).
This is A VERY WIDE GULF, as compared to federal tax brackets.

Is it fair that someone with a taxable income of 40001 pays the same rate as someone whose taxable income is $300000?

Mar. 11 2010 10:40 AM
RCT from NYC

The wealthy aren't leaving, but the professional middle-class will leave if taxes keep going up.

Coincidentally, my entire family -- all three of us -- is not speaking to each other this morning due to an unexpected bill that arrived after we'd emptied our pockets to pay all the other monthly bills, when everyone was "maxed out" in every sense of the word.

We live in a NYC suburb with high property taxes. We pay income taxes, the AMT, local taxes, high utility bills, etc. How much more can we afford?

Frankly, I'd rather move out of state and be on speaking terms with my family. The stress is just -- er -- TOO MUCH!

Mar. 11 2010 10:39 AM
Katie from Queens

I'm sorry, the #1 people leave NYS is the oppressive taxes. It's even why my own home is on the market. Last one out turn off the lights.

Mar. 11 2010 10:35 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

In terms of migration to/from New York City. New York City is in the mid-20s in a nationwide ranking of cities seeing people move in. Almost all major cities are seeing more people move in. Why? New York's living expenses are among the highest in world, not just the country. The people who are leaving New York are NOT the richest, but the middle class.

The conservative guest certainly knows that the wealthiest New Yorkers make MOST of their money as capital gains, which are taxed at MUCH lower rates than earned income. The conservative guest is LYING. No surprise there. Standard Operating Procedure for the right-wing.

Mar. 11 2010 10:35 AM
Billy Gray from Greenpoint, Brooklyn

This first caller ... take a breath buddy, stop hyperventilating! Making me nervous!

I understand his concern about the crooks in Albany doing any borrowing, but he's really spewing a lot of faux-fiscal conservative canards about public sector spending. The long knives come out in times like this for such wingers, because they hate the idea of their taxes being spent on healthcare for Those People and mass transit for Those People.

Also, he should try and cite some evidence. Would probably help him to understand the fiscal situation a little better by doing some research instead of just spewing out bull like, "wall streeters are leaving nyc." They're making a killing, they're not going anywhere.

Please feel free to Go Galt and deprive our state of your magnanimousness.

Mar. 11 2010 10:33 AM
Brian from Hoboken

While I think themax tax rates should increase (who really thinks that someone making a few hundred grand should be taxed the same as someone who makes few hundred million). But the public sector employees have felt no pain. They not only have not faced layoffs, any payments towards retirement, any contributions to insurance costs, etc but they want salary increases!!! It's the same situation here in NJ. While I didn't vote for Christie I am happy to see him take on the public and teacher unions and trying to make them see the reality of the economic situation.

Mar. 11 2010 10:32 AM
Ezra from Manhattan

How is it that the Wall Street banks that received so much Federal aid are now back on their feet, making profits and handing generous bonuses again, but the state of New York is still suffering from lower tax revenue, i.e. it is still in the crisis while the bankers are well out of it already ?

Mar. 11 2010 10:31 AM
Ian from Brooklyn

can you ask them to examine this idea that wall street floats the entire tax burden for nys. this idea is bandied about all the time and i never hear it questioned.

Mar. 11 2010 10:31 AM

"When will the state get back to where it was a few years ago..."

You mean when the states were enjoying its one-off tax bubbles related to the dot commers and finance industries that have now figured out how to sidestep those taxes? Combined with those tobacco billions? That was a one off tax receipts bubble -- and revenues were still short!


We need to brace ourselves, people, and be creative... an annual mandatory volunteer service for services that can no longer be provided by professionals, combined with an unprecedented crackdown on corruption would go a loooooong way.

Mar. 11 2010 10:30 AM
Chris from Putnam county

We need to make the cuts and feel the pain now. Cut school funding, recreational funding, whatever we can that doesn't effect health or security. I'm a union worker, I believe in people making a reasonable living but teachers in my area have an average income of over $90,000. The state can't afford that and people are moving out because of the property taxes.

Mar. 11 2010 10:29 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

The caller who says that the wealthy Wall Streeters are leaving is either lying or misinformed. It simply isn't true.

Mar. 11 2010 10:29 AM
charles harris from island heights nj

How come kids seem to learn more about technology and all it brings to us than they do in school. they have learned a new shorthand language used on cell phone messenging, and how to manipulate all the electronics. Youtube is teaching math. Should we look into bringing teaching system up to date. Send the teachers out to the street to learn what's gloing on

Mar. 11 2010 10:29 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

CORRECTION: New York State has 66 billionaires. (Yes, that's right: sixty-six billionaires.)

Combined wealth: $215.7 BILLION.

No pain is being shared by the wealthiest either! Thanks to the Federal bailout, New York's billionaires profited enormously - quite possibly more so than any other state.

WHY won't our Glorious Leaders look at the obvious solution. Tax the richest. 66 out of about 10 million in New York? That's 7 TEN THOUSANDTHS of the top ONE PERCENT.

Mar. 11 2010 10:21 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I'd be OK w/the state's borrowing to pay its debt if the terms of those loans were better than the current ones.

Mar. 11 2010 10:19 AM
Fredo from Bayside

It is time to stop relying on income taxes. I advocate legalizing and taxing marijuana. On my back of the envelope calculations, if there were an 8.5% tax on pot, I'd certainly be contributing an extra $250 to the state coffers this year. Multiply that by the number of regular pot smokers in the state (estimated at 10% of adult population = 19million/10 = 190,000 x $250 = $47 million in new taxes!)

Mar. 11 2010 10:18 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

According to Forbes, there are 403 billionaires in the US. Twenty of them are in New York, 19 in NYC.

Those billionaires, on average, saw an increase in wealth of 20% over 2008. Michael Bloomberg alone made $2 BILLION last year. Meanwhile, average New Yorkers are seeing income declines.

An increase in tax JUST ON BILLIONAIRES could completely eliminate budget shortfalls. Expand that to New Yorkers worth OVER $100 MILLION and we're in the clear.

BUT BOTH Paterson and Bloomberg have flatly rejected raising taxes -- even on the wealthiest THREE TEN THOUSANDTHS of ONE PERCENT!

Mar. 11 2010 10:15 AM
Angela from Brooklyn

Seriously? The state currently doesn't use accrual accounting? Is this the way most states operate?

Mar. 11 2010 10:13 AM

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