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On Thursday afternoon, March 19, seven activists representing the Fair Share Tax Reform program distributed fliers to commuters at the Port Washington Long Island Rail Road train station. Those distributing the petitions were urging passengers to call the office of Senator Craig Johnson and request his support for their cause.

The brochure points out that as long as taxable income under New York State return is $40,000 or more, the marginal tax rate remains at a constant 6.85 percent. An activist pointed out that a person with $40,000 annual taxable income is paying the same tax rate as Donald Trump. The reform program suggests that incomes above $250,000 be subject to a step up in New York State income tax rates from 8.25 percent to 10.30 percent.

The group estimates these graduated increases will yield $6 billion in additional taxes for New York State. A typical example on the flyer suggests that someone with $300,000 in annual income would pay an additional $4,597 annually, an increase of $71 per week. The flyer further suggests this sacrifice.

Joseph Berry, a member of the Working Family Party, led the group. When asked why his group is directing its effort to Senator Johnson's office, Berry indicated that, to his knowledge, Johnson to date had not indicated whether he supported or opposed the measure saying, "If Johnson is not for the measure, he is against it."

Rich Azzopardi, director of communications for Senator Johnson, spoke on the senator's position, saying Senator Johnson feels we are in dire financial straits, that all options regarding taxes are still on the table and that he views raising taxes an absolute last resort.

Activist Danielle Asher described the group's effort throughout Suffolk and Nassau counties and felt that the distribution of fliers was especially important at the Port station because it's in what she described as Senator Johnson's backyard. Asher said that should the Fair Share Tax Reform initiative succeed, it would affect only 7.1 percent of the wage earners in Senator Johnson's district and cost each wage earner only $71 per week. She also mentioned that a vigil would be held to promote the initiative, although the time, date and location were unknown at present.

The budget should be prepared for a final vote sometime around April 1, the beginning of the state's fiscal year.


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