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Seven billion dollars in tax hikes isn’t enough.
With New York mired in a pandemic-fueled recession, the most liberal and Democratic Socialist of America wings of the state Assembly are pressuring Speaker Carl Heastie to double proposed tax hikes to $14 billion.
The Democratic-led Assembly presented a one-house budget resolution last week that would boost taxes by $7 billion by hiking income tax rates on the wealthy and raising corporate and estate taxes.
But a draft letter to Heastie, currently being circulated for Democrats to sign, says that isn’t nearly enough.
“We can, and must, raise more revenue to fund these essential social services and programs and more deeply invest in working-class and poor communities across our state,” said the draft letter, obtained by the Post.
“Our one-house resolution must represent a floor and not a ceiling, and [we] have identified a number of urgent, unmet needs in the resolution that require raising at least $7 billion more in state revenue. We respectfully request that these needs be met by negotiating for expanded revenue raisers in the final budget.”
The tax hike letter circulating includes the names of the newly elected Assembly members who are affiliated or backed by the Democratic Socialists of America: Zohran Mamdani (Astoria) and Phara Souffrant Forrest, Marcela Mitaynes and Emily Gallagher, all of Brooklyn.
The DSA and the broader left-wing pro-tax coalition are not spitting in the wind. They have to be taken seriously because their insurgent candidates have wiped out nearly a dozen long-time incumbents in Democratic primaries over the last two election cycles, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset primary win over ex-Congressman Joe Crowley in 2018.
The dramatic push for even higher taxes than already proposed comes despite US Sen. Chuck Schumer, the powerful Senate Majority leader who represents New York, insisting the $12.6 billion provided to Albany under the $1.9 trillion federal COVID-19 stimulus plan wipes out the state’s entire projected deficit.
The campaign also comes as weakened three-term Gov. Andrew Cuomo is embroiled in multiple nursing home and sexual harassment scandals.
In the letter, lawmakers call for increasing income taxes on the rich by another $2.3 billion by raising the rates higher to 12.85% to individuals and joint filers making more than $25 million. The Assembly plan now calls for raising the top rate to 11.85%.
They also call for increasing the capital gains tax that Assembly Dems proposed from 1% to 4%, to generate $2.1 billion.
The corporate franchise tax would be raised and would hit all firms with at least $1 million income, to yield additional $2 billion.
In addition, the plan calls for another $1.3 billion in revenue by increasing estate taxes, including by lowering the exemption to $1 million in inheritance assets, which would hit many more New Yorkers.
The money would be used to provide $1.4 billion for hospitals to hire more workers to meet safe staffing ratios for patients; providing an additional $1.2 billion for the “Excluded Workers Fund” to provide unemployment insurance and other aid to illegal residents and other non-citizens ineligible for federal coronavirus relief; $624 million to raise the minimum wage for home care workers and $500 million to expand the state’s Essential Plan medical coverage to the uninsured, among other spending priorities..
Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou (D-Lower Manhattan) backs the higher tax and spending campaign.
“I’ve been asking for a better and more thorough revenue package,” said Niou.
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