New York Daily News: New York lawmakers call on Cuomo to embrace wealth tax as governor warns of billionaire exodus

Originally published in New York Daily News on August 04, 2020.

ALBANY — A growing number of New York lawmakers are open to increasing taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents to help alleviate budget woes caused by the coronavirus pandemic — even if Gov. Cuomo isn’t on board with the plan.


A group of like-minded legislators are hoping to close the state’s current $13 billion budget gap by raising revenue through new income tax rates on the ultra-rich, ending the state rebates on stock transfers and new taxes on high-end second homes and earners with $1 billion or more in assets.

“It would be unconscionable to place the burden of the current economic crisis on those who need help the most and can least afford it,” Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) said during a virtual rally Monday afternoon. “The rich have only gotten richer during the pandemic and should be asked to shoulder the load in this moment.”


Earlier in the day, Cuomo dismissed the idea as he warned that the wealthy will flee the state if taxes go up. He said rich city-dwellers are already second-guessing their Big Apple addresses and could soon leave the state altogether.


“They’re not coming back right now,” he said. “And you know what else they’re thinking? ’If I stay there,’ they pay a lower income tax because they don’t pay the New York City surcharge.”


Advocate groups such as VOCAL-NY, which hosted Monday’s online rally, have called on lawmakers to support the proposals to help avoid cuts to health care, schools and other essential services.

Cuomo has said any spending cuts are currently on hold as he waits to see whether Congress approves funds for struggling states in the coronavirus stimulus legislation currently being negotiated in Washington.


Read the full story at the New York Daily News here.