New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told residents Wednesday that income tax increases are coming, even if the state receives aid from a coronavirus relief bill.
“If Washington gives us some of it, then we’re going to have to redo a budget, we’re going to have to raise taxes—I believe we’re going to have to raise taxes, at the end of the day, in any event,” Cuomo said.
“How much? ... How much on whom and how much do you need?” he asked. “A tax increase is not a political statement. It’s a policy statement and it’s a revenue device. That’s why it has to be done in the budget.
“We need federal aid — period,” the governor continued. “I believe there will be a lot of cuts, but that has to happen within all the context of a decision in a budget. I believe a lot of tough decisions will need to be made.”
If the aid from the federal government does not come through, the consequences on the state will be “devastating,” the governor said, noting that massive layoffs would happen, fares and tolls would increase, and so would government borrowing. In this case, New Yorkers would likely see “tremendous tax increases” that would “hurt families and hurt the economy.”
Almost half of the state’s revenue comes from its personal income tax, which is projected to bring in around $60 billion before refunds in both the current and upcoming fiscal years, budget documents show. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat from the Bronx, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat from Yonkers, have both said they believed the state would need to raise additional revenue to deal with the fiscal crisis.
Republicans have said they oppose such increases, and business groups have warned that raising taxes on the wealthy could prompt some of them to leave the state. Mr. Cuomo’s budget director, Robert Mujica, has previously noted that about half of the state’s personal income tax revenue comes from the highest-earning 2% of taxpayers.
“New York is one of the highest taxed states in the nation, and raising taxes will result in the continuation of the exodus from this state,” Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, a Republican from Niagara County, said in a statement. (WSJ)
In August, Cuomo begged wealthy New Yorkers to return to the city, hoping to push back on calls to raise taxes.
“I literally talk to people all day long who are now in their Hamptons house who also lived here, or in their Hudson Valley house, or in their Connecticut weekend house, and I say, ‘You got to come back! We’ll go to dinner! I’ll buy you a drink! Come over, I’ll cook!’” the governor said. “Our population, one percent of the population [of NYC] pays 50 percent of the taxes. And they’re the most mobile people on the globe.”