Helping the Poor Pay Less in NYS

Thank you to Russell Sykes for pointing out that Sheldon Silver, the majority leader of the NYS Assembly, made a meaningless promise to people living in povery on Wednesday during his remarks prior to Governor Cuomo’s state of the state.

Sykes wrote on behalf of the Empire Center for NYS Policy:

In addition to seeking a higher minimum wage, Speaker Sheldon Silver announced this week that the Assembly will seek to reduce state taxes on the working poor. Specifically, Silver said:

Under our plan, working families who earn less than $30,000 annually will see their income taxes cut. Working families who earn less that $25,000 will pay no taxes at all.

But this is a solution to a non-existent problem. The working families described by Silver already pay no income tax, thanks to New York’s exceptionally (and appropriately) generous Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). As documented in a recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a family of three pays no income tax until its income exceeds $34,600, and a two-parent family of four pays none until income exceeds $40,300.

At a poverty level income of $17,374, a single parent of two children gets a refund of $1,917 due to the EITC. At a minimum wage annual income of $15,080, a two-parent family of four gets a refund of $2,109 – in effect raising its annual income to $17,189.

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