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
Sounds like a good idea, a wealth tax to provide more government benefits for the working people. But a wealth tax will not work. The government will not raise the revenue it needs. Wealthy people will put their monies in things like hard to value art works, offshore assets or they move out the State
In 1990, there were 12 European & Scandinavian countries that had a wealth tax. Today, just four have a such tax. In 2000, France had a wealth tax but abandoned it because 42,000 millionaires left the country. Austria had a wealth tax but abandoned it because it was too difficult to enforce.
There is already a flight of wealthy people out of New York and to areas where taxes are less. An additional wealth tax will only hasten the flight.
If he 18 Queens legislators need more monies, then they ought to look at where our taxes are currently being used. I bet there are plenty of areas where there is waste, fraud and mismanagement.