Wall Street bonuses hit record $24B

State comptroller says the average will be $137,580 per person, attributes windfall to stellar performance of financial firms.


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Amid a banner year for investment banks and other financial firms, Wall Street bonuses are expected to hit a record $23.9 billion in 2006, according to New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi.

"The securities industry had another great year in 2006, with some of the largest firms having their best year ever. This translates into record year-end bonuses and great news for the region's economy," Hevesi said in a statement.

He said the windfall, which will average $137,580 per person, is expected to generate $1.6 billion in tax revenue for the state and another $500 million for New York City.

New York City has an income tax that tops out at 4 percent, while the state's tops out at 6 percent.

The tax revenues do not include money going to the federal government, which could be taxed at rates as high as 38.5 percent.

The bonus amount is 17 percent more than in 2005, which saw Wall Streeters receive $20.5 billion, another record at the time, the statement said.

Hevesi said the estimates do not include stock options that have yet to be exercised, which could raise the value by billions.

One staffer who worked on the report noted how the $23.9 billion is a boon to the local economy, with recipients often paying cash for luxury condos and high-end sports cars right after bonus season.

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