Some New York Lawmakers Push to Follow New Jersey in Raising Millionaires' Taxes
By Jimmy Vielkind
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Progressive lawmakers and groups said New
Jersey's agreement to increase taxes on millionaires should be
matched in New York, and are pushing the state Legislature here to
convene soon to consider a revenue package.
A coalition of advocacy groups called #FundExcludedWorkers,
which includes unions representing nurses and auto workers, is
planning a Friday protest along Park Avenue to call for taxing the
income and wealth of billionaires.
The coalition this month bought billboard advertisements in the
districts represented by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate
Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, both Democrats. Some
Democratic state legislators have called for a return to the
Capitol to consider tax proposals.
The novel coronavirus pandemic prompted a $14.5 billion decline
in state revenues, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pushed off
negotiations on adjusting the state budget in the hope that
Congress will appropriate additional aid. The Democratic governor
said last week that might mean a delay until after the November
But some lawmakers say New Jersey's action undercuts that
argument, and they will increase pressure for action.
"I've never been jealous of Jersey before," said Assemblywoman
Yuh-Line Niou, a Democrat from Manhattan. "It goes to show
something, and means we can't use the excuse that people will go to
Jersey if we raise taxes."
Top-ranking New Jersey officials agreed to raise the rate to
10.75% from 8.97% for tax filers earning between $1 million and $5
million. People earning more than $5 million already pay that rate.
The millionaires tax would bring in additional annual revenue of
about $390 million.
New York State taxes personal income over $1,077,550 at a rate
of 8.82%. If income over $1 million were taxed at 10.75%, the state
could generate an additional $5.28 billion a year, according to the
Fiscal Policy Institute, a labor-backed think tank.
"While New Yorkers bore the brunt of Covid-19 in lives lost and
economic disruption, our state leads the nation in income
disparity, and that is reflected in our tax code," said Jonas
Shaende, the organization's chief economist.
Mr. Cuomo is still resistant to the idea. His budget director,
Robert Mujica, said after the New Jersey announcement that most of
New York's top earners live and work in New York City, where the
top combined city and state income tax rate is 12.6%. Mr. Mujica
has frequently said that the highest-earning 2% of New York tax
filers account for a majority of income tax receipts.
"There is much discussion about the state and nation's economic
condition and the options available to New York state. Let's make
sure the discussions are informed," Mr. Mujica said.
Republicans say New York should first look to reduce spending
before increasing taxes.
Mr. Heastie and Ms. Stewart-Cousins haven't announced plans to
return to session, but both have signaled their support for raising
income taxes in the absence of federal funding.
A spokesman for Mr. Heastie declined to comment. In a statement,
Ms. Stewart-Cousins said, "While we collectively work to get needed
federal aid from Washington, there is no question that substantial
additional revenue action from the state will be necessary."
State Sen. Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat who chairs the
chamber's finance committee, said she supported raising taxes but
believed the Legislature had to work in concert with Mr. Cuomo on
any adjustments to the state budget that was adopted in April.
"People think that somehow we can do this without the governor,
and I empathize with the desire, but I don't think it can actually
happen that way," she said.
Write to Jimmy Vielkind at Jimmy.Vielkind@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 21, 2020 15:48 ET (19:48 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.