We received this from Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried.
We agree with his thoughts.

Richard N. Gottfried

The New York Times reports that high-end retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue are enjoying brisk sales even though they are not giving their customers price breaks. They're not worried that wealthy customers will go somewhere else or refuse to buy.

But on January 1, New York State will give its wealthiest taxpayers a $5 billion a year tax cut.

The argument is that if we don't give them that tax break, they'll move to some other state. Well, the surcharge on high-income taxpayers was enacted in 2009. Since then, the number of millionaires in New YorkState has increased 10%. The surcharge has not driven wealthy people out of New York.

Mayor Bloomberg said in 2008: "I can only tell you, among my friends, I've never heard one person say I'm going to move out of the city because of the taxes. Not one. Not in all the years I've lived here. You know, they can complain, 'Ugh, I got my tax bill, it's heavy.' But my friends all want to live here."

When the surcharge expires on January 1, New York will be forced to look at further cuts in health care, education, services for children and the elderly, public transportation, and a long list of services that make our communities work and prosper.

Maybe we need to learn what Saks Fifth Avenue seems to know about its customers.

The low-end and midrange retailers are risking low margins as they cut prices to attract shoppers, while executives at luxury stores say that they are actually able to sell more at full price than in recent boom years.

We're now into a less promotional environment than we were before the recession,' said Stephen I. Sadove, chairman and chief executive of Saks. In the third quarter, for instance, Saks reduced the length of an annual sale to three days from four, and excluded the high-margin category of cosmetics from another regular sale.

At Saks Fifth Avenue and other luxury stores, full-price selling has generally been increasing.

High-end retailers 'don't have to do anything desperate - it's kind of hard to see a 5 a.m. queue outside of a Fifth Avenue luxury retailer,' said Chris Donnelly, a senior executive in Accenture's retail practice. 'If you don't have to put it on sale and people are still going to buy it, why put it on sale?'

From: "Opening Day for Shoppers Shows Divide,"
New York Times, Nov. 24, 2011