Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to support a tax on billionaires who live in New York State, as part of a campaign that pledges to use the money on "working families" affected by the pandemic.
"Fund Excluded Workers" a New York-based group looking to benefit financially from taxing the "ultra-wealthy," is part of the campaign urging Cuomo to pass legislation that would tax the state's 119 billionaires.
"Make the Road New York," a progressive grassroots immigrant-led organization, put out a video on Thursday featuring Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, along with state Sen. Jessica Ramos of Queens, and public advocate Jumaane Williams. The video asserts that while most families in the state have struggled during the pandemic, billionaires have only gotten richer.
Sen. Ramos sponsored a bill that would tax the unrealized capital gains of any billionaires in the state. It would raise an estimated $5.5 billion in revenue, the bill claims, which would go toward workers not eligible for unemployment benefits or federal relief measures. The money collected would be redirected to New York workers who do not qualify for unemployment insurance or the federal stimulus.
"We need to ask Governor Cuomo to tax the people who are benefiting from this pandemic in order to support the working families who are facing housing insecurity, food insecurity, and more," said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.
Throughout the video, statistics of how many "black and brown" New Yorkers lost their jobs are sprawled across the screen, as well as testimonials from minorities. No white families who experienced unemployment during the pandemic are shown throughout the clip.
One statistic claims that "74 percent of surveyed immigrant Black and Brown New Yorkers reported job loss due to the pandemic." There is no source provided for that statistic.
The video also took a direct dig at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos featuring an audio clip that stated that "Bezos has amassed more than $28 billion this year alone, much of it due to the surge in online purchases during the coronavirus outbreak."
Ocasio-Cortez infamously thwarted Amazon from building a headquarters in New York City, a move that likely cost New Yorkers thousands of potential jobs. She has received bipartisan criticism for her actions.
"Governor Cuomo we need you to pass the billionaire's tax in order to make sure that we're providing for our working families," she says in conclusion. "It's time to stop protecting billionaires and it's time to start working for working families."
On Thursday, Cortez shared her involvement with the campaign on Twitter.
"Any budget that's balanced on working people's backs is a budget that will make inequality worse," she tweeted. "Everyday families are going hungry. It's time to tax the rich."
Any budget that’s balanced on working people’s backs is a budget that will make inequality worse. Everyday families are going hungry. It’s time to tax the rich.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 16, 2020
Thank you @MaketheRoadAct for leading this fight along w/ @JumaaneWilliams, @jessicaramos, @yuhline, & many others.
In the past, Cuomo has made it very clear that he believes taxes that target high earners could drive them out of the state.
His budget director, Robert Mujica, told the New York Times the state already has one of the highest tax rates for the rich in the country. Mujica argued that the only successful way to make certain billionaires are being held financially accountable is for Congress to enact a wealth tax.