Press Release

REPORT: NY House GOP Protecting Tiny Minority from Taxes While Aiming Cuts at Social Security & Medicare

New York – A statewide coalition – consisting of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, Strong Economy for All Coalition, and Citizen Action of New York – released a report today showing the disparity between the large number of New Yorkers who would suffer from cuts to services and the extraordinarily small number who stand to benefit from additional tax cuts for the rich.

The report’s release follows President Obama’s offer to end tax cuts on those with incomes above $400,000 and House Republicans’ decision to move a bill that would end tax cuts for only those with incomes above $1 million. The report illustrates how few people within the state’s congressional districts represented by Republicans earn even over $250,000, especially when compared to the percentages of those receiving Medicare or Social Security who suffer from cuts to those services.

“Members of the New York Congressional delegation need to defend the beneficiaries of Medicare and Social Security, many of whom depend heavily on these programs,” said Michael Burgess, New York Statewide Senior Action Council.  “Any proposal that does not let the Bush tax cuts expire for those with annual incomes above $250,000 will likely necessitate further cuts to health and social programs that will further damage the safety net members of Congress should put first.”

The large majority of people in these New York congressional districts who would lose services is consistent with the results of a recent Washington Post-ABC poll that showed a majority of Americans disapprove of cutting Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security to avoid the “fiscal cliff” and an overwhelming majority (74%) support raising taxes on Americans with incomes over $250,000 per year.

“Many members of Congress are sitting on the fence as the fiscal cliff debate rages on. As our report clearly illustrates, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness.  “It’s time for members to jump off the fence and support asking the favored few to contribute just a little more so we can ensure that our seniors and the most vulnerable members of our society get the services our shared social contract has promised them.  Poll after poll shows that the public completely supports rescinding the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000 and protecting Social Security and Medicare.  It’s time to listen to the public, not wealthy contributors.”

“House members should put fairness first when it comes to the ‘fiscal cliff’ — wealthy New Yorkers can afford to pay more, while those of us who rely on Social Security and Medicare simply can’t,” said Michael Kink, Executive Director of the Strong Economy For All Coalition.  “Raising a trillion dollars by ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich is the first step towards fairness, and New York’s delegation in Congress should unanimously support this simple, straightforward policy position — while protecting Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries from cuts now and in the future.”

In a district-by-district analysis, the report showed that in most of the congressional districts represented by Republicans, less than 2% of constituents make more than $250,000 and would benefit from an extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for the rich. In contrast, all of the districts had double digit percentages of Medicare and Social Security recipients, showing where the interests of the state and Republican House members should be focused.

“This report shows that regardless of county, when you cut taxes for the rich it’s low- and middle-income families that bear the brunt,” said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York. “It’s time for Congress to face reality. The way to grow our economy is not slashing taxes for the super rich at the expense of Social Security, Medicare and other crucial programs that working families rely on.”

“We are very dismayed that ideas like lowering the cost-of-living adjustment formula for social programs are now seriously on the table at the same time that unfair tax cuts advantaging the wealthy are being preserved,” said Mark Hannay, Director of the Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign.  “We ask Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and the New York congressional delegation, whose side are you really on?  Seniors and people with disabilities who are struggling to get by day-by day, year-to-year, or those with more than enough resources to live a very comfortable life, even with higher tax rates?”


Rep. Chris Gibson:  99% of his constituents make below $250,000 and only 1% would pay higher taxes if Clinton-era rates were restored; approximately 20% of his constituents would face cuts if plans to slash Social Security and Medicare benefits were implemented.

Rep. Michael Grimm:  Only 1.3% of Staten Island taxpayers and 1.1% of Brooklyn taxpayers have income over $250,000 per year.  But 17% of Staten Islanders receive Social Security benefits and about 15% rely on Medicare, which have been targeted for cuts by Republican congressional leaders and members.

Rep. Tom ReedLess than 1% of taxpayers have income over $250,000 per year but approximately a quarter of his constituents rely on Social Security and 20% need Medicare benefits.

Lame-duck Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle:  About 1% of taxpayers have incomes over $250,000 per year, but 17-24% rely on Social Security and Medicare.

Rep. Richard Hanna:  99% of his constituents are not wealthy – in fact, in Herkimer County only 81 people, about .3% have income over $250,000, and in the rest of his district it’s 1% or less.  But tens of thousands rely on Social Security and Medicare, including up to a quarter of Chenango County residents.

Lame-duck Rep. Nan Hayworth:  In many areas of her district, only 2 or 3% of taxpayers would pay higher rates under the Obama plan. But about 15% of residents in many areas face cuts to Social Security and Medicare that Hayworth Tea Party colleagues have advocated.

A copy of the report can also be found here: