Cuomo threatens New Yorkers with tax hikes over COVID-19 shortfalls
Gov. Andrew Cuomo threatened Thursday to increase the burden on New York’s already heavily taxed residents if federal lawmakers don’t provide funding to offset losses due to the coronavirus crisis.
“This will be a hole in the financial plan so large that it will be impossible to fill,” the governor said during a conference call with reporters.
“What would we do to try to fill it? Taxes, cuts, borrowing, early retirements [of government workers]. All of the above.”
New York City already holds the dubious distinction of being No. 1 in the nation for the highest combined burden of state and local income taxes, with a total rate of 12.7%, according to the Tax Foundation think tank.
That works out to an average annual bite of $2,877, according to the Tax Foundation.
And last month, the American Legislative Exchange Council ranked the Empire State’s economic outlook the worst in the country — for the seventh year in a row — in part due to its hefty taxes.
Cuomo’s threat of higher taxes represents a reversal of his previous warning that they would put New York at a competitive disadvantage with other states and lead to an exodus of high-income New Yorkers.
With the state already five months into its fiscal year, Cuomo has so far resisted liberal demands to raise taxes on the rich, amid hopes that President Trump and Congress will agree on a bailout package for state and local governments — or that fellow Democrat Joe Biden will beat Trump in November and ride to the rescue.
Albany lawmakers didn’t make any deep cuts when they enacted the state budget on April 1, amid the pandemic, but Cuomo has since withheld funding to local governments and social service providers to help keep the state afloat.
The governor has projected a long-term deficit of $30 billion, due to the deadly impact of COVID-19.
The shortfall for the current fiscal year is about $8 billion, according to EJ McMahon of the Empire Center for Public Policy.
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