While members of Congress hunkered down for an intense series of negotiations to avert a fiscal crisis in the waning hours of the year, New Yorkers rallied in front of the city’s midtown Internal Revenue Service office on Monday afternoon, worried that their taxes would go up enormously if the year ends without a deal on government spending and taxes.
“I want to be a part of the change I want to see,” said Long Island resident Charles Khan, a former Obama for America campaign worker. ”When I got out of college, I was unemployed for a while, and I wasn’t able to afford things like LSAT classes and my college loans. If we go over [the fiscal cliff] it’ll make life difficult for all of us.”
About a dozen activists, including members of Moveon.org, New York Communities for Change and UnitedNY, demonstrated with $120 worth of props that included plastic axes, rope, hard hats with miner’s lights from a costume shop to dramatize the “fiscal cliff” and call attention to the effects on taxpayers if a financial deal is not reached.
An average New Yorker’s taxes could rise as much as $2,000, according to estimates from several lawmakers. Those with an income of $30,000 could see their taxes go up by $1,000 and those with an income of $100,000 could see their taxes go up by $5,000.
New York workers could stand to lose $7.7 billion next year if the payroll tax break gets eliminated, and other tax relief including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Care Tax Credit could also be endangered.
President Barack Obama declared that an end to the fiscal cliff was “in sight” as of mid-afternoon on Monday.
But if a deal isn’t reached in the coming days, residents will begin to notice a chunk of their paycheck getting sent to Washington.
That doesn’t make New York’s taxpayers very happy.
“They don’t care about anything but collecting rent,” said New York Community for Change member Maria Barry. “We need them to fulfill their promises. They need to stop playing games. We are the ones who are going to suffer.”
With reporting by Mylique Sutton