June 18, 2020 By Christian Murray
New York State faces a $14 billion deficit and more than 100 state legislators—including 18 from Queens—have pledged that they will not approve spending cuts unless taxes are raised on the wealthy.
The legislators are upset that Governor Andrew Cuomo does not want to raise taxes on the wealthy and instead is looking to cut billions from nurses, public school teachers, senior services and food banks.
The 100 legislators argue that the wealthy have not suffered financially during the COVID-19 crisis, while more than 2 million state residents have already lost their jobs.
The legislators cite statistics, released by the Public Accountability Initiative, that show that the state’s 118 billionaires increased their net worth by an estimated $44.9 billion, or 8.6 percent, from March 18 to May 15.
“Ultra-millionaires and billionaires should not be the only constituency held harmless in this crisis,” according to a joint statement from the 100 legislators. “We are all in this together, and sacrifice must be shared.”
The statement goes on to say: “We will not allow state budget cuts without raising revenue from those who can most afford to pay more.”
The legislators also point to a survey conducted by Hart Research in January, where more than 90 percent of the 1,000 eligible voters surveyed support a tax on the wealthy.
The 18 Queens legislators who have signed the pledge are:
State Senators: Mike Gianaris, Jessica Ramos, Toby Ann Stavisky, John Liu and Anna Kaplan
State Assembly Members: Catalina Cruz, Nily Rozic, David Weprin, Daniel Rosenthal, Andrew Hevesi, Alicia Hyndman, Brian Barnwell, Michael DenDekker, Jeffrion Aubry, Cathy Nolan, Michael Miller, Ron Kim and Aravella Simotas