Lawmakers: Tax wealthy to fix deficit


Eight Bronx state lawmakers — including state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz — have pledged to block any state budget cuts without first raising the tax burden on the wealthy.

Biaggi and Dinowitz joined Albany colleagues who include state Sens. Gustavo Rivera and Jose Serrano Jr., as well as Assembly members Michael Benedetto, Victor Pichardo, Karines Reyes and Nathalia Fernandez in the effort. They are among 100 legislators and 16 labor unions making the call when it comes to filling the state’s projected $14.3 billion deficit.

“Ultra-millionaires and billionaires should not be the only constituency held harmless in this crisis,” the group said in a joint statement, according to a release. “We are all in this together, and sacrifice must be shared. We, the undersigned, are clear. We will not allow state budget cuts without raising revenue from those who can most afford to pay more.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has resisted looking for ways to have the state’s super-wealthy solve the deficit, instead hoping the federal government will step in with some necessary relief.

In the meantime, the governor has proposed a number of substantial cuts, including $10 billion from nurses, public schools, senior citizen services and food banks, the group said.

At the same time, the lawmakers and others joining their cause believe the net worth of New York’s 118 billionaires grew by $45 billion during the coronavirus pandemic.

The coalition, which bills itself as “Strong Economy for All,” believes a tax on billionaires and what they call ultra-millionaires could raise just under $10 billion alone. Another $3.2 billion could come from a stock buyback tax, and $650 million in revenue may be available through a tax on second and third homes owned by the wealthier people who reside in New York.