New York needs to raise taxes, says Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state should raise taxes to bridge the current budget deficit, even if Congress approves more support as part of the corona virus clearance bill.

The Democratic governor’s remarks on Wednesday were most decisive this year over revenue increases to cover the deficit exacerbated by Covid-19 and the economic restrictions imposed by the state to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Mr Cuomo did not specify which taxes the state intended to increase, and his helpers did not answer subsequent questions. Redundancies and borrowing will also be part of the debate, he said.

State lawmakers passed a $ 178 billion budget in April, subject to additional federal subsidies that were not implemented. The spending plan gave a unilateral mandate to the Cuomo government to withhold public payments to entrepreneurs, schools, municipalities, and social workers if the U.S. Congress did not act.

Mr Cuomo and the democratic leaders of the State Assembly and the Senate have repeatedly said they will not change their budgets until another draft aid is made. The Washington talks took place in attacks and departures; a bipartisan legislative group is working on a $ 908 billion bill that would provide $ 160 billion in support to state and local governments. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday presented a new $ 916 billion White House proposal to Speaker Nancy Pelosi of D.C. that included the same amount of state and local support.

Protesters in September protested with a “Tax the Rich” sign after New York City delayed the start of most classes in public schools.


John Marshall Mantel / Zuma Press

The New York State Budget Office estimated in October that the coronavirus would cause a $ 13.5 billion drop in government revenue from February forecasts. New York projects a deficit of $ 8.7 billion for fiscal year beginning April 1. That number could nearly double because it assumes the state will find $ 8 billion in recurring savings in the current fiscal year, says David Friedfel, director of state. studies for the Citizens Budget Commission, a fiscal surveillance group.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Cuomo said he expected Congress to at least fill a hole in the current year, but acknowledged that further steps would be needed.

“If Washington gives us a share, we need to renew the budget, we need to raise taxes – I think we need to raise taxes at the end of the day, anyway,” Mr Cuomo said. “The question is, how much is the tax?”

In January, the governor must propose a budget for the next fiscal year.

Almost half of the state’s revenue comes from its personal income tax, which is projected to bring in about $ 60 billion before refunds in both the current and next fiscal year, budget documents show. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Yonkers Democrat, both said they believe the state needs to raise additional revenue to tackle the budget crisis.

Republicans have said they oppose such increases, and business groups have warned that taxes imposed on the rich could raise some of them by leaving the state. Mr. Cuomo’s budget director, Robert Mujica, previously noted that about half of the state’s personal income tax revenue comes from the 2% of taxpayers who earn the most.

“New York is one of the nation’s most taxed states, and raising taxes will result in continued emigration from that state,” said Senatorial minority leader Robert Ortt, a Niagara County Republican.

When Mr. Cuomo spoke in Albany, a group of progressive advocates unfurled the flag in Manhattan’s Central Park, representing the collective wealth of the state’s billionaires. In addition to raising income tax rates, groups like Make the Road New York, which works with undocumented immigrants, say the state should also tax financial transactions and unrealized capital gains for people with large fortunes.

Michael Kink, a strong economy for everyone, the executive director of a coalition of unions, says Mr Cuomo needs to take an approach based on the above in order to increase revenue before resorting to cuts.

“The governor has definitely landed in reality,” Mr. Kink said. “It’s absolutely true that raising taxes on the rich, Wall Street and big business is an essential part of resolving the fiscal crisis. We absolutely must not give up federal funding, but we need real help.

Write to him Jimmy Vielkind at [email protected]

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