Reporting Marcia Kramer
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — President Barack Obama headed to New York on Monday afternoon, just hours after rolling out his controversial plan to raise taxes.
The battle is on over how to cut America’s staggering deficit, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
“We shouldn’t balance the budget on the backs of the poor and middle class, that for us to solve this problem everybody, including the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations, have to pay their fair share,” Obama said.
The president’s plan calls for higher taxes on the rich and spending cuts in programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
The president’s plan would end Bush-era tax cuts on couples making more than $250,000 a year and institute a minimum tax on millionaires.
Currently, the highest earners can pay as little as 15 percent of their income in taxes while most middle class Americans pay between 25 percent and 38 percent.
Under the proposal, families making $250,000 would pay and extra, $2,100 in tax. Those making $300,000 would see a $4,441 increase in their tax bill. Those making $500,000 would pay $7,388 more.
“It’s only right that we ask everybody to pay their fair share,” the president said.
Kramer asked our area politicians how they felt. Senators Charles Schumer of New York, Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey all support the millionaire’s tax.
Menendez, Lautenberg and Kirsten Gillibrand support eliminating some or all of the Bush tax cuts. Schumer said the $250,000 limit is unacceptable since it will hit the metropolitan area disproportionately because of the high cost of living here.
“$250,000 makes you really rich in Mississippi but it doesn’t make you rich at all in New York and there ought to be some kind of scale based on the cost of living on how much you pay,” Schumer said.
Republican Congressman Peter King of Long Island echoed the position of his fellow Republicans who control the House.
“I am strongly against it,” King told Kramer.
“It’s wrong to raise taxes in a downturn, because you’re raising taxes on the people who are going to create jobs, but especially for us in New York and Long Island where $200,000, $250,000 is not a lot of money.
“You’re going to find people who are basically a working family — a police officer and a teacher.”
In New York City opinions vary.
“The president is not very intelligent as far as economics are concerned and he’s surrounded himself by non-business people. I think it would be very good if he stepped back and let people revise the entire tax code,” said Peter Sammon of Queens.
“To help the economy we need to make more jobs here and if you’re going to take money away from the rich, who are making business, that is going to give jobs to people, what is the point of that?” added Ellen Joseph of Hewlett.
“Tax the millionaires but not forever, just until we can get ourselves back on our feet after that it will probably go back to business as usual,” Upper West Side resident Samuel Huggins said.
“I’m not really in favor of it. Sounds like it doesn’t apply to people who are millionaires but to people who make substantially less income,” Neil Higgins of Long Island added.
“Who has the money to pay taxes today? People who make the money right?” Brenda Vemich of the Upper West Side said.
Congressman King said the president’s plan seemed more like a political document to help him energize his liberal base than a plan the Republicans can work with and pass.
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