New York state hosts the highest concentration of wealth in the United States and has the largest gap between rich and poor, a report released this month by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found.
The report, highlighted by the progressive Fiscal Policy Institute, could have broader implications ahead of the coming state budget season as lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul consider whether to further increase taxes on wealthier New Yorkers ahead of a potential economic downturn.
Progressive budget analysts have long argued for tapping into New York's largest resource of cash, the wealthy, to help fund important spending in the budget like schools and health care. Conservative budget hawks, however, have cautioned that doing so would result in more rich people leaving New York.
The state relies on a relatively small number of very rich people to fund much of the state's revenue from the personal income tax.
The report released this month finds that wealth is indeed concentrated in a few hands.
New Yorkers who are worth more than $30 million own a combined $6.7 trillion in wealth, composing about 0.4% of the state's population. These New Yorkers also hold about a fifth of the total wealth held by all of the richest Americans.
And, potentially key to the budget debate going forward, the report points to just under half this wealth not being touched by capital gains.
New York has increased tax rates on the richest New Yorkers, allowing for a record increase in school spending for the state budget.
An updated report on the state's finances released this month showed New York's tax revenue has not slowed down as anticipated amid a fragile economy and high inflation.
The Fiscal Policy Institute pointed to the findigs as a reason for keeping the current personal income tax rates on higher earners "at minimum" while also considering increasing it for the very wealthy.