2007-04-06 / Community

Weiner Sets Vision For Middle Class

Representative Anthony Weiner has outlined his vision for easing the burden on New York City's middle class and those struggling to make it at a Drum Major Institute panel discussion in Manhattan on Monday. Weiner discussed his proposal to provide middle class families with a 10% tax cut and highlighted the crunch New Yorkers face under the rising and inescapable costs of everyday life.

New York City has the smallest proportion of middle-income families of any metropolitan area in the country, and the number of middle income families is shrinking at an alarming rate, according to the Brookings Institution. Only 16% of the City's families are considered "middle income" today, compared with 25% of families decades ago. "It is not an overstatement to say New York is not a place you go anymore if you're in the middle class or you're striving to make it into the middle class," said Weiner.

At the panel, Weiner presented a multifaceted plan to ease the burden on New York's middle class that includes tax cuts, making college more affordable and expanding the availability of affordable housing.

"I am a firm believer that progressivitiy of the tax code is long overdue in this country. We need to refocus government away from property values towards a new paradigm of addressing the needs of the middle class"

The Weiner tax plan would restore progressivitiy to the tax code by enacting a 10% tax cut for families making less than $150,000 annually. Under the proposal, 2.7 million New Yorkers - 79% of New York tax filers - will see their taxes reduced by an average of $934. During the discussion, Weiner also noted the importance of making college more affordable to the middle class.

"A generation that sends more people to college does better then a generation that sends fewer people to college. We need to make sure we have as many college educated young people as we can," said Rep. Weiner.

In January 2007, Rep. Weiner was a co-sponsor of the College Student Relief Act, legislation that cut student loan interest rates in half over the next five years, making college more affordable for 204,000 low and middle income students in New York City.

Weiner also touched on the importance of ensuring New York has available affordable housing for the middle class. "Affordable housing is not just in short supply on the island of Manhattan, you can't find it anywhere," said Rep. Weiner. "We need to make sure the city is as hospitable as it has been for those creative, ambitious and entrepreneurial energies that want to move here." The panel discussion, which took place at Baruch College in Manhattan, was attended by representatives from unions, non-profits groups, and New York City elected officials, discussed how to make New York City a place where it is possible to become and remain middle class.

In 2006, Rep. Weiner scored a perfect 100 and received an "A" grade by the Drum Major Institute for his tireless protection of the middle-class, including efforts to reject bankruptcy restrictions, helping middle class consumers squeezed by high gas prices, and his opposition to all tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.

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