Bloomberg News

Most New York Voters Favor Tax on Millionaires, Siena Poll Says

October 17, 2011

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Almost three-quarters of New York voters favor a tax on millionaires, a poll found, days after several hundred people marched to the homes of some of New York City’s richest financiers to protest economic inequality.

Support for taxing wealthier people breached party lines, with 83 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Republicans in favor, according to the Siena College Research Institute poll released today. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Oct. 13 he wouldn’t change his opposition to the so-called millionaire’s tax.

“It’s not about the political pressure one way or the other,” Cuomo, a first-term Democrat, said during a press conference last week in Albany while responding to a question about political support for the tax. “I try to keep it simple on this job. You do what you think is right and you make the best judgment you can.”

The tax adds a temporary surcharge on New York’s married couples earning more than $300,000, and singles earning more than $200,000. It will expire on Dec. 31 after Cuomo and Senate Republicans, who hold a majority, made clear they wouldn’t renew it.

Cuomo has said he believes the tax will make the state uncompetitive. His approval rating was little changed from last month, with 71 percent of voters saying they find him favorable, according to the poll. That’s down one percentage point from a September Siena poll.

The most recent poll surveyed 800 registered New York voters by telephone from Oct. 10-12. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Voters are sending a “mixed signal” on budget issues, Steven Greenberg, a pollster for Loudonville, New York-based Siena, said in a statement accompanying the poll.

Although 72 percent of voters favored raising taxes on residents earning more than $1 million a year, 51 percent said they preferred cutting spending rather than raising revenue to close a $2 billion budget deficit estimated for next fiscal year, the poll found.

--With assistance from Esme E. Deprez in New York. Editors: Stacie Servetah, Mark Tannenbaum

To contact the reporter on this story: Freeman Klopott in Albany, New York at fklopott@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net.


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