The real crisis for American democracy is our cowardly inability to tax the rich | Will Bunch

Jul 1, 2021 The Philadelphia Inquirer (Will Bunch)

In 2018 — after his then-planetary-record net worth had hit $131 billion, yet right before the pandemic that would make his Amazon the alpha and omega of online shopping for so many American families — Jeff Bezos admitted he had so much money the only thing he could think to do with it was to blast himself into space. He told a reporter that year: “The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel ...”

Really, Jeff? I’m thinking that some of America’s schoolkids — you know, the ones in classrooms where students don’t have the right textbooks but they do have asbestos or lead in the fountain water — might have a few ideas on deployment. In fact, they might also have some idea for multibillionaire investor Warren Buffett, who famously complained that his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does, and then proved it by watching his wealth grow by more than $24 billion (with a “B”) in the mid-2010s but only paid $23.7 million (with an “M”) in federal taxes, or just a 0.1% rate.

Keep Reading →

The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax

Jun 8, 2021 ProPublica

ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years.

Taken together, it demolishes the cornerstone myth of the American tax system: that everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most. The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.

Keep Reading →

Pressure Mounts to Tax the Rich in Connecticut

May 30, 2021 The Intercept

In the wealthiest state in the country, a legislative fight is brewing over whether to tax the elite residents who bring the state its superlative. Connecticut boasts the third-largest center for hedge funds in the world, 14 resident billionaires, and trifecta control for the Democratic Party, including a supermajority in the state Senate and a near supermajority in the House. In April, the state’s Finance and Revenue Committee approved a package with tax cuts for poor and middle-class residents, financed largely with new taxes on households earning more than $500,000 per year. But the General Assembly ends June 9, and Connecticut’s Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont has declared that he will veto any such move.

Keep Reading →

To Grow Our Economic Pie, Cut More Equal Slices!

May 26, 2021

In the years right after World War II, Americans of modest means led the economic way. Their incomes grew appreciably faster than the incomes of the nation’s most affluent. The United States would see in these postwar decades the emergence of the modern world’s first mass middle class.

Our nation’s political leaders, naturally, celebrated this most glorious development. Americans, they could rationally claim, were all doing better economically — and average Americans were doing the best of all!

But the data that started emerging in the 1980s told a different story. Only the rich, the new stats showed, were now getting richer. Don’t-rock-the-boat economists reacted predictably. They rushed to dismiss and dispute the new stats. Nothing fundamental had changed, they insisted.

Keep Reading →

Is Newsom trying to be Robin Hood? What his budget means for wealth inequality in California

May 25, 2021 Sacremento Bee

California’s tax structure is known for its reliance on the gains of the wealthy. In 2018, the top 1% paid nearly half of the state’s personal income taxes. That reliance is especially notable this year, with wealth gains among high earners propelling California to a $76 billion surplus.

Newsom wants to direct some of the surplus to low- and middle-income Californians, from sending out $600 stimulus checks for those making under $75,000 to providing rent and utility assistance. Experts said his budget proposal could strengthen the social safety net for those at the very bottom.

Keep Reading →

In Washington State, the Left Won a Major Victory for Taxing the Rich

May 24, 2021 Jacobin Magazine

For a century, reformers have tried to change Washington's regressive tax system. Last week, a landmark capital gains tax became law. The story of how they got there shows how the Left can win against Democrats defending the status quo.

Keep Reading →

Millionaires who favor raising taxes on the rich launch protests in front of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ home on Tax Day

May 18, 2021 CNBC

Millionaires who have called on the rich to pay more in taxes are launching protests in New York and Washington on Monday — Tax Day — including in front of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ homes.

The effort is being organized by the Patriotic Millionaires, whose members boast annual incomes of over $1 million or assets worth over $5 million. The details of the effort were first shared with CNBC.

Keep Reading →

How Dems learned to stop worrying (mostly) and embrace tax hikes

May 17, 2021 Politico

As discussions heat up about how to pay for trillions in new spending on infrastructure, Biden and his party want to hike taxes on the wealthiest Americans and on companies that have evaded federal taxes for years. Poll after poll shows those proposals are broadly popular with voters, particularly amid a deadly pandemic that's exacerbated the nation’s already stark economic divisions.

Keep Reading →

California’s Taxes: The Only Ones Suited for the 21st Century

May 11, 2021 The American Prospect

For decades, the right has been complaining that California’s taxes are too high. What they actually mean is too progressive, as the top rates now hover around 13 percent of personal income. That, the right has claimed, would surely drive the wealthy from the state—though new data on population shifts show that it’s working-class people who’ve been fleeing the high-cost state while professionals and the wealthy have continued to move there. The right has also claimed that progressive taxes actually yield less revenue than less progressive and lower taxes, according to the haven’t-quite-penciled-out-yet equations of supply-side economics.

Undaunted, California has continued to levy the most progressive taxes of any state, and in the past two days, we’ve seen the results. This year, the state boasts an astounding budget surplus of $75.7 billion.

Keep Reading →

Financial Transactions Taxes: The Perfect Way to Pay for Biden’s Infrastructure Package

May 5, 2021

Over an eight-year period, Biden’s proposed spending averages $500 billion annually. This is a period in which GDP is projected to be more than $210 trillion, meaning that his package is projected to be around 1.9 percent of GDP. While that is hardly trivial, military spending to projected be around 3.3 percent of GDP over this period. This means that Biden is proposing to increase infrastructure spending by an amount that is roughly 60 percent of projected military spending.

It is infuriating that most of the reporting on these proposals make no effort to put the spending in any context that would make it meaningful for people.

Keep Reading →

Biden's Modest Tax Plan

May 4, 2021 The New York Times

If all of Biden’s proposed tax increases passed — on the corporate tax, as well as on investment taxes and income taxes for top earners — the total federal tax rate on the wealthy would remain significantly lower than it was in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. It would also remain somewhat lower than during the mid-1990s, based on an analysis that Gabriel Zucman of the University of California, Berkeley, did for The Morning.

Keep Reading →

What Can We Do to Start Civilizing Our Richest?

Apr 16, 2021

What makes a society civilized? In a word: limits. Civilized societies — to protect and enhance the greater good — set limits on how people behave.

We limit, for instance, how fast motorists can drive. We limit how many ducks hunters can shoot. We limit how much noise our neighbors can make late at night.

But we have one aspect of contemporary life where no limits ever seem to apply: We let our wealthiest keep getting ever wealthier. And the pace of that enriching is ever quickening.

Keep Reading →

719 Billionaires Now Own Four Times More Wealth Than Poorest 165 Million Americans Combined

Apr 15, 2021 Common Dreams

After seeing their fortunes surge during the deadly coronavirus pandemic, America's 719 billionaires are now collectively worth $4.56 trillion—making them over four times wealthier than the roughly 165 million people in the bottom half of U.S. society combined, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness.

The two groups found that the wealth of U.S. billionaires grew by $1.62 trillion—55%—between March 18, 2020 and April 12, 2021, a period in which millions lost their jobs and more than 500,000 Americans lost their lives to Covid-19.

Keep Reading →

Don’t wait for billionaires to sell their stock. Tax their riches now.

Apr 14, 2021 The Washington Post

The concentration of wealth at the top of the scale is one of the central stories of the U.S. economy, and the trend is accelerating. Whereas assets held by the top 400 wealthiest Americans were worth the equivalent of 9 percent of gross domestic product in 2010, the figure has doubled since then, to 18 percent.

Tax policy, meanwhile, has not kept up with the changing scale and nature of wealth in America. Despite the upsurge in their fortunes, the nation’s multibillionaires, most of them tech magnates, contribute little to the public coffers.

That’s because they structure their affairs so as to have little taxable income. They usually accept no salary, or a low one compared with other corporate executives.

Keep Reading →

New York Is Finally Taxing the Rich

Apr 14, 2021 Jacobin

In the annual wrangling over the New York State budget, socialists and other left forces just won far more than anyone expected. The state legislature agreed to temporarily raise taxes on New Yorkers earning more than $1.1 million, with a tax rate of 10.9 percent on incomes over $25 million. This is happening even though Democratic scion Andrew Cuomo is still the governor. After years of Cuomo’s elevation of coddling the rich into a matter of liberal principle, in New York, as at the federal level, decades of austerity are grinding to a halt.

Keep Reading →

New York Raises Taxes On The Rich As State Shifts Leftward

Apr 11, 2021 HUFFPOST

On Wednesday, New York’s overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature passed a budget for the 2022 fiscal year that will raise $4.5 billion in taxes on millionaires and corporations to fund economic relief for undocumented immigrants, schools and housing assistance.

The progressive slant of the tax-and-spending legislation marks a tidal change in Empire State politics that would have been hard to imagine six months ago, let alone at the start of Cuomo’s tenure in 2011.

Keep Reading →

New York’s $212 billion post-COVID budget shows Cuomo can’t always get what he wants

Apr 11, 2021 The New York Daily News

Hoping to kick-start New York’s COVID-stalled economy, lawmakers passed a massive $212 billion budget that will completely reshape how the state brings in and spends revenue — and checked some of Gov. Cuomo’s power in the process.

Fueled by federal relief funds and new taxes on the wealthy, the fiscal plan came to be as Cuomo faces a firestorm of criticism and calls for his resignation over sexual harassment allegations and scandals related to his administration’s handling of the pandemic that led to a federal probe and an impeachment inquiry.

Keep Reading →

New York Is Taxing the Rich. Here’s Who Made That Happen.

Apr 9, 2021 The New York Times

About a decade ago, it became increasingly common to hear public school parents in New York talk about carting rolls of paper towels, boxes of crayons and dry erasers into classrooms because teachers lacked basic supplies. Manhattan private schools were planning greenhouses and displaying cafeteria menus on flat-screen televisions, but in a new Dickensian era of public education, there would be neither magic nor Magic Markers.

We might trace the origin of this decline specifically to the spring of 2011, during Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s first year in office, when he persuaded the State Legislature to cut year-to-year expenditure on education and health care by more than $2 billion, refusing to consider a millionaire’s tax to offset the reductions. This was the first time in more than 10 years that the state had cut overall annual spending.

Keep Reading →

What the New State Budget Means for New York City

Apr 8, 2021 Gotham Gazette

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature approved a $212 billion state budget this week, an immense spending plan bolstered by new state tax increases on the wealthy and massive federal aid, with major investments in education, infrastructure, the green economy, rent relief, benefits for undocumented immigrants, child care, and more. The budget includes direct and indirect support for New York City, aimed at reviving its economy and aiding its residents as the city begins to claw its way out of the throes of the coronavirus pandemic.

Keep Reading →

Cuomo, lawmakers reach final deal on budget

Apr 6, 2021 Times Union

A three-way deal has been reached between the Senate, Assembly and governor on how to spend $212 billion of public money for next year, the state's top leaders said Tuesday evening.

It's the largest budget of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's 10-year tenure and it's significantly larger than his version of the budget proposed in January. The budget is about an $18 billion increase from last year's. Progressives praised the major investments in education and other areas, while Republicans panned the largesse and direction of the spending.

Keep Reading →

‘Raise my taxes – now!’: the millionaires who want to give it all away

Apr 3, 2021 The Guardian

Abigail Disney is part of a small but growing group among the super-rich, calling for a wealth tax to help fund the recovery from the pandemic. The Patriotic Millionaires movement, of which she is a longstanding member and key spokesperson, started in 2010 with only a handful of signatures on a 163-word open letter, including the musician Moby and Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream co-founder Ben Cohen. It has grown into a global organisation with more than 200 members.

Keep Reading →

55 Corporations Paid $0 in Federal Taxes on 2020 Profits

Apr 2, 2021 Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

At least 55 of the largest corporations in America paid no federal corporate income taxes in their most recent fiscal year despite enjoying substantial pretax profits in the United States. This continues a decades-long trend of corporate tax avoidance by the biggest U.S. corporations, and it appears to be the product of long-standing tax breaks preserved or expanded by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) as well as the CARES Act tax breaks enacted in the spring of 2020.

The tax-avoiding companies represent various industries and collectively enjoyed almost $40.5 billion in U.S. pretax income in 2020, according to their annual financial reports. The statutory federal tax rate for corporate profits is 21 percent. The 55 corporations would have paid a collective total of $8.5 billion for the year had they paid that rate on their 2020 income. Instead, they received $3.5 billion in tax rebates.

Keep Reading →

Sales Taxes Widen the Racial Wealth Divide. States and Cities Have Far Better Options

Apr 2, 2021

Right now, the overwhelming majority of state and local tax systems are regressive, meaning they tax their lowest-income residents at higher rates than the top 1 percent. So it’s not surprising that they fall far short of their potential as tools for advancing racial equity. But there are some bright spots and plenty of options for reform that could make them more effective.

Keep Reading →

Cuomo’s campaign gets $568K from billionaires while opposing wealth tax

Mar 30, 2021 New York Daily News

Deep-pocketed donors flooded New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign coffers with cash in recent months as the state’s top Democrat repeatedly dismissed calls to increase taxes on the rich.

An analysis of campaign contributions shows Cuomo took in more than $568,000 from 15 billionaire supporters over the second half of 2020.

The flood of cash came as the governor voiced his opposition to raising revenue through new levies on the Empire State’s wealthiest residents, arguing elites will simply pull up roots and move elsewhere.

Keep Reading →

Progressive Income Tax Proposal Would Increase Taxes on Just 2% of New Yorkers

Mar 29, 2021 Public Accountability Initiative

Only 2% of personal income tax filers living in New York State would see increased taxes following the implementation of a progressive income tax proposed by the Invest in Our New York (IONY) coalition.

IONY is proposing progressively increasing income tax rates on single filers making more than $300,000 and joint filers making more than $450,000 in order to raise billions in additional revenue. Increases would be relatively modest in lower brackets. For instance, a single filer reporting $400,000 in income would pay only $650 in additional income tax.

Keep Reading →

Nearly 3 in 4 New Yorkers Favor Taxing the Rich to Austerity: Poll

Mar 26, 2021 Common Dreams

Nearly 3 out of 4 voters in New York would prefer taxes on the rich and corporations over new budget austerity that would see vital public services and programs slashed, according to a poll released Friday.

. . . " New Yorkers on a state level "recognize that in this time of need, the wealthy should pay more in taxes and the state should support those who need help the most."

Keep Reading →

Progressive Groups: Billionaires Gained Ground in 2020

Mar 24, 2021 Spectrum News NY1

The combined wealth of New York's richest residents increased by more than $156 billion over the last 12 months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, an analysis by progressive advocacy groups found.

The report comes as lawmakers are weighing potential tax increases on uppper income earners in the state with the budget due to pass by the end of the month.

The report relied on an analysis fo Forbes Data, assessing a time frame of March 18 of last year to March 17.

“Millions of New Yorkers are struggling to feed their families and make rent, as the state’s billionaires continue to grow wealthier. While Covid-19 exacerbated New York’s economic crisis, the pandemic did not create these conditions," said Invest In Our New York Campaign Manager Rebecca Bailin. "Over the last decade, Governor Cuomo has used the budget to protect and enrich wealthy New Yorkers — cutting taxes for millionaires, banks, real estate corporations, and even yacht and private jet owners."

Keep Reading →

Tax-the-Rich Push Drives High-Stakes Cuomo State Budget Showdown

Mar 24, 2021 The City

With the state budget due to be passed in a week, Albany finds itself divided into two camps with very different views of New York’s future — perhaps no more so than on whether to further tax the rich.

On the one side are business groups, joined this week by the scandal-impaired Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who say that with tax revenues far higher than expected and about $30 billion funneled into the state’s coffers by federal aid packages, there is no need to raise taxes on people making $2 million or more annually.

On the other side are progressive groups and state legislators who say New York needs to increase spending because of the damage done to individuals and business by the pandemic — and that the high-income New Yorkers who prospered during the crisis should pay their fair share of the cost.

Keep Reading →

The Boundless Advantages of the Welfare State—for the Rich

Mar 23, 2021 Common Dreams

Robbing the rest of us blind, wealthy Americans benefit from a wide array of tax breaks and government subsidies that are hidden behind the constant Republican blather about entitlements for the poor.

The stimulus program will cost about $2 trillion. The pandemic stock gains, the great majority of which went to the richest 10% of Americans, amounted to $9 trillion.

Keep Reading →

Senate leader defends need for wealth tax

Mar 23, 2021 Watertown Daily Times and Northern New York Newspapers

Hundreds of business leaders recently sent Cuomo, Stewart-Cousins and Heastie a letter urging them to not increase taxes on state millionaires and wealthier residents.

The Senate leader said she has had conversations with the business community since.

“I understand why they think the way they think,” Stewart-Cousins said. “I think we’ve made it very clear that they know that New York is going to make a great comeback. We know that every single aspect of New York’s economy can work together to benefit everyone and how important the business community is in that. We also know that we as a community have to make investments ... that will make us all stronger. We’re asking those who have a little more to do a little more so we’re not looking at the same inequities year after year and not the same austerity going into the future.”

Keep Reading →

Top 1% fails to report over 20% of income using potentially "criminal" tactics: IRS analysis

Mar 22, 2021 Salon

The wealthiest 1% of Americans fail to report more than 20% of their income to the IRS, and some of those ultra-rich people use "sophisticated evasion technologies" and criminal tactics to avoid paying their full share, according to a new analysis by researchers at the IRS and economists.

The analysis estimated that the top 1% of households fail to report 21% of their income. Nearly a third of that is through sophisticated schemes that random IRS audits fail to detect. The trend is even starker among the top 0.1% of earners, whose unreported income may be twice as high as the IRS estimates.

The analysis was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which noted that some of the tactics would be categorized as "clear criminal tax evasion" . . .

Keep Reading →

Major New York Labor Unions Back Tax-the-Rich Proposals

Mar 18, 2021

Major unions and labor organizations on Thursday released a joint statement backing proposals by the Democratic-controlled state Legislature to increase taxes on upper income earners and generate more revenue from the financial service industry in New York.

The support from the labor groups -- including the AFL-CIO, New York State United Teachers, the Communications Workers of America and the New York State Nurses Association among others -- comes as lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are negotiating a state budget expected to pass at the end of the month.

Keep Reading →

No, The Rich Are Not Paying Their Fair Share

Mar 17, 2021

e hear it all the time: The wealthy must pay their fair share in tax.

Many of the wealthy, and the members of Congress they sponsor, contend they already are. And they have all sorts of facts and figures to make that appear true. After all, for a billionaire, even a tiny tax payment in percentage terms is a big check.

So, are the rich paying their fair share?

Keep Reading →

How State Lawmakers' Budget Proposal Could Affect New York's Wealthiest

Mar 16, 2021 Spectrum News

Democrats in the state Senate and Assembly over the weekend released budget proposals that would lead to billions of dollars in new taxes on wealthy New Yorkers in order to close a remaining gap in state spending and funding education and health care in the process.

The budget resolutions for each of the two houses of the state Legislature, where Democrats hold supermajorities, are close to each other in outlook and goals. The resolutions themselves are blueprints for the budget negotiations, a staking out of positions by each chamber.

Both plans are being applauded by progressive groups that have pushed for higher taxes on the rich, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed deep economic inequalities over the last year and led to a spike in unemployment.

Keep Reading →

From Brooklyn to Buffalo, Socialists are Organizing to Tax the Rich

Mar 16, 2021 The Indypendent

NYC-DSA’s Tax the Rich Campaign joins a wider statewide project, the Invest in Our NY (IONY) Coalition. A report released by the coalition in January 2021 outlines six bills that would raise a combined $50 billion in annual revenue “to invest in our towns and our cities, our housing and healthcare, our schools and teachers, accessible transit and our people with disabilities, our workers and our youth.” The bills, if passed, would open up new revenue sources in the upcoming state budget, which is set to be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo by April 1.

Keep Reading →

State Lawmakers Want Higher Taxes On The Rich, But Shy Away From Billionaires' Tax

Mar 15, 2021 Gothamist

The legislature is proposing slightly higher taxes on millionaires, and creating two new tax brackets: a 10.85% tax rate for people making between $5 million and $25 million annually, and an 11.85% rate for those who earned $25 million or more. These new taxes would raise $4.3 billion annually, according to the Assembly.

Additional taxes proposed by the legislature include a 1% capital gains "surcharge," a tax targeting "owners of high value second homes" (a version of the pied-a-terre tax that has been kicking around Albany for years), higher corporate tax rates and a 4% hike on the top estate tax rate; these proposals among others would generate around $3 billion.

Keep Reading →

Invest In Our New York Coalition Statement on One-House Budgets

Mar 14, 2021 For Immediate Release

  • "Legislature is beginning to take steps towards progressive, sustainable revenue — but New Yorkers cannot afford half-measures”

  • "There is no excuse for any concessions to the Governor’s agenda — now is the moment for state legislators to boldly transform New York”

NEW YORK — Invest In Our New York Coalition campaign manager Rebecca Bailin today issued the following statement:

"Millions of New Yorkers are struggling to feed their families and make rent, as the state’s billionaires continue to grow wealthier. While Covid-19 exacerbated New York’s economic crisis, the pandemic did not create these conditions. Over the last decade, Governor Cuomo has used the budget to protect and enrich wealthy New Yorkers — cutting taxes for millionaires, banks, real estate corporations, and even yacht and private jet owners. At the same time, the Governor slashed billions in funding for our public schools and universities, our healthcare and housing, low wage worker protections, and public infrastructure and programs that are critical to Black and brown New Yorkers. The result is a deeply inequitable state that can only be repaired through sustained public investment. "

We are heartened that the State legislature is beginning to take steps towards progressive, sustainable revenue streams — a sign of the tireless organizing and advocacy from thousands of grassroots New Yorkers. The proposed budgets take meaningful steps to address unmet needs of 2020: notably, relief for rent arrears, investments in education and a fund for excluded workers.

However, now is not the time for half-measures. While the budgets meet critical needs, much of it is reliant on one-time federal aid. These budgets will help remedy the challenges our state has faced due to Covid-19 — but they lack adequate annual, sustainable revenue for vital services and public goods. Both one-house budgets fail to claim anywhere near the full extent of common-sense, progressive revenue within reach, and therefore do not go far enough in building a New York that stands for all. Without the necessary revenue, the legislature has stopped far short of preventing our public schools from reaching a fiscal cliff when federal aid runs out; ensuring that all New Yorkers have a safe and affordable home; preventing unnecessary overdose deaths; providing safety net equity for excluded workers, and so much more.

"There is no excuse for any concessions to the Governor’s agenda. Now is the moment for state legislators to boldly transform New York from a state that protects the wealthy to a state that stands up for children, families, working people, communities of color and vulnerable New Yorkers."
— —

Assembly Leaders’ Budget Plans Trail Senate’s On Progressive Priorities, Advocates Say

Mar 14, 2021

Leadership in both of New York’s legislative chambers are preparing “one-house budgets”—their proposals for a state budget—that each include around $7 billion in progressive tax increases, sources with knowledge of current plans said.

But it would be far lower than the $50 billion raised by the Invest in Our New York Act, a proposed package of six bills hiking taxes on the wealthy that a coalition of the state’s most prominent progressive groups has rallied around.

“$7 billion, if that’s the number, isn’t enough,” Rebecca Bailin, campaign manager for the Invest in Our New York Coalition, told New York Focus. “We need a budget that has tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue.”

Keep Reading →

Op-Ed | Claw back the Trump corporate tax cuts

Mar 12, 2021

If we are serious about rebuilding our economy we should pass the Invest In Our New York Act, a package of revenue bills that would include a full repeal of the Trump Administration’s corporate tax cuts in New York. With our state facing an enormous $60 billion deficit over the next four years, this legislation is more important than ever.

The Trump Tax Cuts were a disaster: they included massive giveaways to big corporations (one CEO even called them “a mighty fine Christmas gift”) and failed to accomplish their intended goal of kick-starting the economy. Trump’s tax cuts dramatically dropped the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent—the most generous corporate giveaway in more than three decades.

Keep Reading →

The Billionaire Boom

Mar 12, 2021 The Washington Post

The pandemic has been a boom time for America’s richest billionaires.

But the staggering rise in their gains contrasts with the economic devastation of millions of Americans, amid soaring unemployment and evictions, drawing attention to issues of inequality and distribution of wealth. In fact, the $360 billion increase in top billionaire wealth approaches the $410 billion the U.S. government is spending on the latest round of $1,400 stimulus checks, passed with the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package this week.

Keep Reading →

Opinion: For the NY State Budget We Need, Tax the Ultrawealthy

Mar 11, 2021

While we are grateful that the Biden administration is sending $12.5 billion to New York State and another $10 billion to municipalities across the state, it is time for New York to act like the economic powerhouse that it is. Right here and right now, we can generate the recurring revenue we need to create an economy that enables working families to flourish by ensuring that the ultrawealthy pay their fair share.

The Invest In Our New York campaign has asked legislators to raise tens of billions in new tax revenue. Members of the state Assembly and Senate are actively discussing this proposal and many others.

Keep Reading →

If We Want to Renew Democracy, We Need to Tax the Ultra-Wealthy

Mar 7, 2021 Informed Comment:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act of 2021, introduced March 1, could not be a more timely reminder that the United States needs serious policy changes to address massive wealth and income inequality. While eight million Americans slipped into poverty and half a million lives were lost to Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic — all with a disproportionately large impact on communities of color — the wealth of U.S. billionaires almost doubled, up $1.3 trillion. At this rate, it would take five more months for the wealth of the richest Americans to match the $1.9 trillion relief package put forward by the Biden administration.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, the great antagonist of concentrated financial power, famously observed in the last century: “We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”

Keep Reading →

With a federal wealth tax looking unlikely, states like New York could enact their own

Mar 5, 2021 Business Insider

New York legislators may be able to push through taxes on the ultrawealthy amidst the turmoil surrounding Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Bloomberg reports.

Progressives in New York have been champing at the bit to increase taxes on the wealthy. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio previously called for a progressive tax and a tax on billionaires in his final State of the City address. And New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has previously called to raise the top marginal rate on those earning over $10 million.

Keep Reading →

Please tax me! N.Y. millionaires demand Cuomo and lawmakers raise their taxes

Mar 4, 2021 The New York Daily News

Dozens of New York-based millionaires are demanding their taxes be raised as Gov. Cuomo and the leaders of the state Senate and Assembly negotiate the budget, which is due April 1. The calls come at a time when the state is reeling from the economic toll of the pandemic and as Cuomo faces burgeoning legal woes.

The most recent rally for new taxes on the rich came in the form of a letter sent Thursday to Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

Keep Reading →

Is a Tax on ‘Ultra-Millionaires’ the Answer to Massive Inequality?

Mar 4, 2021 The Nation

On the 2020 presidential primary campaign trail, one of Elizabeth Warren’s applause lines came when she talked about her plan for a “wealth tax”—two cents on every dollar over $50 million. She made the issue vivid. “How many of you own a home?” she asked; at most stops, it was roughly half the crowd. “Well, you already pay a wealth tax on your major asset. You pay a property tax, right?” People start nodding. “I just want to make sure we’re also taxing the diamonds, the Rembrandts, the yachts, and the stock portfolios.”

Keep Reading →

Time for the Warren-Jayapal Wealth Tax

Mar 1, 2021

Under the Warren-Jayapal-Boyle legislation, the wealth tax would only be levied on people with wealth over $50 million, roughly 100,000 taxpayers. The annual tax rate would be just two cents on the dollar (2 percent) for people with wealth between $50 million and $1 billion and just three cents on the dollar (a total of 3 percent) for wealth above $1 billion threshold. There are only about 650 billionaires in the country that would pay the 3 percent rate.

Keep Reading →

Is New York Finally Ready to Tax the Rich?

Feb 26, 2021 The New York Times

This September it will be 10 years since thousands of people descended on Zuccotti Park, in Lower Manhattan, to protest economic inequity — one result of a financial industry left to operate like a fraternity in an unmanned bar.

As a means of consciousness raising, Occupy Wall Street was hugely successful. Suddenly, 16-year-olds were talking with great authority and conviction about the dark consequences of repealing the Glass-Steagall Act. Political fortunes were buoyed by the popularization of new memes — “We are the 99 percent.” But over the next decade, the tax policies that could have brought about a real redistribution of wealth only favored the rich more extravagantly.

Keep Reading →

Raise the corporate tax rate to save new York

Feb 25, 2021 Crain's New York

The corporate tax portion of the Invest in Our New York Act would levy a surcharge so that large corporations would pay the same corporate tax as they did in 2017. Opponents of the proposed tax increase, as opponents of all taxes do, are sure to claim that such a move would drive business away from the Empire State, but that’s not true.” . . .

“First, New York’s corporate tax is unusually low given the size and dynamism of our economy, the 10th largest in the world. New Jersey and Pennsylvania tax corporate profits at almost double New York’s rate.

Keep Reading →

The truth about millionaires and taxes

Feb 23, 2021 The New York Daily News

Gov. Cuomo recently argued, “if you take people who are highly mobile and you tax them, then they will just move.” State legislators working to raise revenue by hiking taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers say his concerns are unfounded. Where does the truth lie?

I have spent more than 10 years studying the consequences of elite taxation in California, New Jersey and across the country. Using big data from the tax returns of all top-earners, I have found there are many misperceptions about tax flight.

Keep Reading →

Some Democratic Lawmakers Push for Wealth Tax on New York Billionaires Lawmakers search for revenues as the state faces a $10.2 billion deficit

Feb 22, 2021 Wall Street Journal

“There is no excuse as to why our billionaires are not paying their fair share, and that they’re hoarding their wealth and using loopholes to escape their fiscal responsibilities,” said state Sen. Jessica Ramos, a Democrat from Queens who sponsors the tax.

Currently, individuals are taxed on wage income, certain business profits outside of corporations and capital gains from the sale of assets. Some assets are also subject to postmortem estate taxes. The mark-to-market tax would require New York residents with a net worth of more than $1 billion to assess the fair market value of their assets on Dec. 31 of each year, and pay state income tax on any gains.

Keep Reading →

Wall Street Transaction Tax Gets Fresh Look After GameStop Frenzy

Feb 20, 2021 Bloomberg

Some Democrats in Washington are seizing on the recent frenetic trading in GameStop Corp. to push the financial transaction tax long favored by progressives, setting up a battle with Wall Street firms that bitterly oppose the idea.

Exacting a tiny sum from every securities trade is a concept that liberal Democrats, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have pushed for years. They see it as a way to curb the kind of speculative betting that led to last month’s chaotic swings in the market and to fund Democratic priorities such as increased public-works spending.

Keep Reading →

Submission to New York State Assembly: the case for Financial Transactions Taxes

Feb 19, 2021 Tax Justice Network

A Financial Transactions Tax does what it says on the tin. States apply a tiny tax rate (for example, 0.1 percent) on the value of financial transactions such as the sale of shares or derivatives. Well designed FTTs have three main benefits: first, they raise significant tax revenue, delivering a welcome transfer of wealth from rich to poor; second, perhaps more importantly, they curb excessive and harmful high frequency financial speculation (which makes up around half of all US stock market trading now) while leaving normal trading and investment intact; third, they boost transparency, giving tax authorities better oversight of financial activities.

Keep Reading →

Lawmakers pitch tax hikes on high earners in New York

Feb 17, 2021 Associated Press News

Several New York lawmakers are proposing a tax hike for individuals making at least $300,000 per year in hopes of bringing in an estimated $15 billion in annual revenue.

Supporters say the tax hike would help relieve the huge drain on state revenue cause by the pandemic and avoid Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to cut state-spending 5% across-the-board and delay the start of new middle class tax cuts for one year.

Keep Reading →

State Legislators Eye Revenue from Inheritances and Gifts with New ‘Heirs Tax’

Feb 17, 2021 The Gotham Gazette

As New York State faces a severe budget shortfall and awaits federal aid, some lawmakers and activists are advocating for a package of legislation that would increase taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents to avoid cuts to services for the most vulnerable. Among those proposals is a bill that would tax inheritances for multi-millionaires and raise as much as $8 billion for the state every year, according to supporters’ calculations.

Keep Reading →

Commentary: Shake off the finance fever dream and pass a stock tax

Feb 15, 2021 Times Union

The ruling ideas of today are the ideas of finance. The allure of the stock market has affected the minds of elected officials, business people, some union leaders, and citizens (witness the GameStop phenomenon). It’s exactly why New York needs to reinstate a small tax on stock transactions.

In our greatest period of economic growth in the 1950s and 1960s, “assets held by the financial sector in the United States were worth around one year’s GDP, and financial corporations earned little more than a tenth of corporate profits. Now the financial sector’s assets are worth five years’ GDP, and a third of all corporate profits flow to finance,” writes journalist-author Nicholas Shaxson in “The Financial Curse: How Global Finance is Making us All Poorer.”

Keep Reading →

Taxes on the Rich: One-Sixth of What They Used to Be

Feb 13, 2021

America hasn’t stopped taxing its wealthiest citizens entirely. But that’s where we’re headed.

According to a new IPS briefing paper, the richest .01 percent of Americans, about 33,000 lucky souls today, now pay just one-sixth of what they used to pay in tax, when measured as a percentage of their total wealth.

America’s radical tax transformation occurred over the last 65 years. The process started slowly between 1953 and 1980. It took 26 years for tax payments by the top .01 percent to fall by one-third from their 1953 peak. But starting in 1980, tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans have followed a clear pattern: When Republicans have held power, tax cuts for those at the top have been slashed; When Democrats have held power, they’ve enacted a few slight tax increases, but mostly have maintained the status quo.

Keep Reading →


Feb 11, 2021 Community Service Society of New York

New York State has already lost approximately one million jobs since the pandemic began, with over a half million lost in New York City alone. Such job losses have been disproportionately concentrated in low-wage sectors and communities of color. As most New Yorkers face economic hardships during the pandemic, another group has continued to prosper in a gilded bubble—New York’s wealthiest residents.

Much of the rise in inequality is due to ongoing preferential tax treatment for high earners, the wealthy, and financial corporations, coupled with the lack of political will by the government to address this growing concentration of wealth.

Keep Reading →

Protesters block Midtown traffic with makeshift house as they demand tax on richest New Yorkers

Feb 11, 2021 AMNY

Protesters brought traffic to a screeching halt outside Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office in Midtown Manhattan Thursday afternoon with a makeshift house that served to plead their case for a tax hike on the wealthiest New Yorkers. . .

The campaign “Invest in Our New York Act” advocates for six bills that propose tax increases for the inordinately affluent, such as millionaires, billionaires, CEOs, and major corporations.

Vocal New York charged that the most affluent New Yorkers can handle a tax increase. They cited a study by Americans for Tax Fairness which found that the state’s richest residents raked in more than $87 billion in 2020 despite the hardships others faced during a year marred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keep Reading →

Report: Taxing Rich Can Spur Recovery in New York

Feb 10, 2021 Spectrum News, The Fiscal Policy Institute

A progressive-leaning think tank on Wednesday is set to release its budget and fiscal outlook for New York as the state's finances have been stress test by the COVID-19 pandemic and amid an ongoing debate over raising taxes on wealthy residents.

The Fiscal Policy Institute's annual report backed a variety of new and increased taxes on upper income earners and businesses, including an unearned income surcharge, a corporate tax surcharge, a Global Intangible Low-Tax Income, a pied-a-terre or second home tax and a stock transfer tax.

Keep Reading →

The Case for the Financial Transaction Tax in 2021

Feb 10, 2021 The Appeal

For most Americans, what threatens health also threatens wealth. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered the worst economic crisis in nearly a century, with millions suddenly facing hunger, unemployment, or eviction. But Wall Street doesn’t represent most Americans. In the parallel universe of the financial industry, stock indices soared to historic peaks as Americans wished good riddance to the deadliest year in our history. Detached from the daily lives of most Americans, the stock market surge almost exclusively benefited the disproportionately wealthy, and the pandemic once again lived up to its distinction as “the great clarifier.” . . .

The ultimate value of a tax is not only in the revenue it raises, but also in the incentives it creates. The FTT is urgently needed because of this dual impact: it will equitably raise revenue that can be used to support economic recovery and social goods while discouraging financial roulette that rewards speculation rather than jobs and wages.

Keep Reading →

The Wall Street tax New York needs now

Feb 9, 2021 The New York Daily News

In New York, bodegas collect sales taxes and send them on to local and state governments. Grocery stores and dry cleaners and restaurants do the same. So why, in a state whose largest single industry is finance, are purchases of stocks, bonds and similar instruments exempt?

They shouldn’t be. A bill recently introduced by state Sen. Julia Salazar and Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou would place modest fees on such transactions that are projected to throw off impressive results: $12-29 billion per year, with well-conceived provisions to prevent location-based evasion. . .

Albany lawmakers should once again call Wall Street’s bluff and put the public interest first. A fair tax on Wall Street is an essential element for this year’s state budget.

Keep Reading →

50 years of tax cuts for the rich failed to trickle down, economics study says

Feb 8, 2021 CBS News, London School of Economics

Tax cuts for the wealthy have long drawn support from conservative lawmakers and economists who argue that such measures will "trickle down" and eventually boost jobs and incomes for everyone else. But a new study from the London School of Economics says 50 years of such tax cuts have only helped one group — the rich.

The "careful" new research from the London School Economics "suggests indeed that tax increases on the wealthy should be considered post-COVID," Berkeley's Zucman said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch.

Keep Reading →

The Movement for a Wealth Tax in Washington State

Feb 8, 2021

Legislators in Washington state are taking bold steps towards instituting a state-level wealth tax. The proposed tax is a 1 percent levy on wealth over $1 billion, applying to fewer than 100 households in the state.

According to the state’s Department of Revenue, the tax would raise an estimated $2.25 billion in 2023 and $2.5 billion in 2024. At a February 2 hearing, House Finance Committee chair Noel Frame said it’s time to put a new “tool in the toolbox for comprehensive structural tax reform.” The state’s current tax system places an enormous burden on Washington’s working class.

Keep Reading →

New York’s Economic Recovery Relies on Environmental Funding

Feb 5, 2021 Gotham - February 5, 2021

“As state leaders consider how to address the state’s deficit and create a sustainable future, investing in environmental programs is the answer.“

“Environmental programs, such as the Environmental Protection Fund, are proven to aid in state economic recovery, create good-paying jobs, and strengthen local economies while protecting our environment and mitigating the effects of climate change. This is what New Yorkers need and Governor Cuomo is already leading the charge.”

Keep Reading →

NY Weighs A "Wall Street Tax." Wall Street Is Threatening To Flee

Feb 5, 2021

On Wednesday, a trade group representing some the most powerful economic markets in the world wrote a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, outlining their opposition to the creation of any new taxes on stock trading in New York. Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Institute at the Urban Institute & Brookings Institution, said that a state stock transfer tax would not soak everyday investors and retirees, despite the arguments made by the financial industry.

Keep reading →

Lawmakers eye another rent relief program before budget deadline

Feb 4, 2021 WCNY - February 4, 2021

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal calls for funding to flow through a state social services agency, while Senate Housing, Construction and Community Development Committee Chair Brian Kavanagh is also updating a competing rent relief plan.”
“We’re looking at legislation, and also I would say that we are looking at not waiting for the conclusion of the budget process,” Kavanagh told The Capitol Pressroom. “This is an urgent problem and we should be putting a program on the books and getting the money out the door as soon as possible.

Keep Reading →

NY’s Ed Commissioner: Federal Aid Should Not Supplant State Funding

Feb 4, 2021 WAMC

But state Education Commissioner Rosa says the money was intended to supplement already existing school funding, and help with what she says are “enormous” new costs associated with operating school systems during the pandemic. She says the money is not meant to fund the districts’ basic operating costs.

“We are opposed to a one-shot federal fund replacing needed state dollars for schools,” Rosa said, at the hearing in late January.

“Rosa says the funds are needed to make up for significant learning loss that’s occurred over the past year, as schools closed for a time, and then offered full or part-time remote learning.”

“NYSUT President Andy Pallotta, a WAMC commentator, says one solution, if Washington does not come through with a relief package, is to raise income taxes on the wealthy. The teachers union has launched a $300,000 advertising campaign, including digital media and billboards, to push for the new taxes.”

How COVID-19 is inspiring new visions for higher education

Feb 4, 2021 City and State New York

“Higher education advocates warned at a Feb. 4 state budget hearing that proposed cuts to public and private colleges could jeopardize the state’s pandemic recovery while worsening racial and economic inequities.”

“State lawmakers, students, staff and faculty have a different vision for higher education this budget season. A proposed “New Deal for CUNY” aims to eliminate tuition, increase mental health and academic counseling, hire more faculty and expand public college campuses, according to activists.”

“Advocates are also pushing for state lawmakers to increase funding for higher education while changing a longtime problem with the Tuition Assistance Program that helps students pay tuition.”

“Advocates say that increased investments in higher education could turbocharge the state’s recovery from the pandemic, which has given them new moral arguments as well.”

“Advocates say they support Cuomo’s efforts to secure $15 billion in new federal funding to help the state overcome a historical drop in state revenues, but they also want to increase taxes on high-earners, capital gains, stock transfers and corporations to fund their plans for higher education.”

States Are Finally Going Bold with Progressive Tax Efforts

Feb 4, 2021 Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

As the COVID-19 pandemic began, and again as 2020 drew to a close, we repeated our hope that these trying times would awaken and embolden state leaders to enact lasting solutions to emergent and long-standing needs in their states.

Now, advocates, lawmakers, study commissions, and even governors in some states are proposing bold tax policy reforms that look beyond pandemic-induced budget shortfalls and the “K-shaped recovery” to address underlying inequities and underfunding that gave rise to them. These efforts include proposals to: end or reverse regressive tax policies like the preferential treatment of income derived from wealth over income earned through work; restore or strengthen estate and inheritance taxes to slow the concentration of wealth in ever-fewer hands; raise revenue and slow inequality with progressive income taxes; and many other ideas to right upside-down tax codes while raising the revenue needed to invest in families and shared priorities.

Keep reading →

Senator Gianaris Wants Cuomo to Provide $2.2 Billion Bailout for Renters and Small Landlords

Feb 3, 2021 Astoria Post - February 3, 2021

State Sen. Mike Gianaris is calling on the governor to provide a $2.2 billion relief package for residential tenants and small landlords in the upcoming state budget.

Gianaris penned a letter to Cuomo on Feb. 1 stating that many tenants are suffering under the economic crisis and face the possibility of being evicted if they do not receive financial aid.

The lawmaker wrote that the state cannot rely on the federal government to sufficiently bail out tenants and small landlords – such is the urgency of the matter – and wants Cuomo to establish a Housing Stability Relief Fund in the budget.

Keep Reading →

Pols introduce capital gains measure

Feb 2, 2021 New York Post - February 2, 2021

ALBANY — Democratic state lawmakers keen on raising taxes on higher-income earners to help close the state’s massive, multi-billion dollar deficit have introduced a new bill that would place an extra tax on investments.

The new legislation — sponsored by Democrats state Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-The Bronx) and Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) — would place a new state tax on capital gains in addition to existing federal taxes on investments set between seven and 17 percent depending on income tier.

Rivera and Kim Introduce Capital Gains Tax Bill

Feb 2, 2021 State of Politics - February 2, 2021

Two state lawmakers, Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assemblyman Ron Kim, have introduced a bill to tax capital gains in New York as the effort to increase taxes on the state's wealthiest residents takes another step forward. The value of this one bill is estimated to be over $7 billion in revenue to the State.

Keep Reading →

Pols introduce capital gains measure in already high-tax New York

Feb 2, 2021 New York Post - February 2, 2021

ALBANY — Democratic state lawmakers keen on raising taxes on higher-income earners to help close the state’s massive, multi-billion dollar deficit have introduced a new bill that would place an extra tax on investments.

The new legislation — sponsored by Democrats state Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-The Bronx) and Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) — would place a new state tax on capital gains in addition to existing federal taxes on investments set between seven and 17 percent depending on income tier.

Keep Reading →

Queens lawmaker calls for tenant, landlord relief in state budget

Feb 2, 2021 QNS - February 2, 2021

As rent came due for millions across New York, state Senator Michael Gianaris urged Governor Andrew Cuomo to include $2.2 billion in relief assistance in this year’s budget. His proposal would supply funding for eligible landlords in exchange for rent forgiveness for tenants who have not been able to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“New York has spent the last year in the midst of a public health and economic crisis,” Gianaris said. “If we don’t take action now, we will also fall into a housing and eviction crisis. Whether funds come from the federal government or new sources of state revenue, we must include rent relief in this year’s state budget because tenants deserve peace of mind and small landlords should be made whole.”

Keep Reading →

Senator Rivera and Assembly Member Kim Introduce Capital Gains Tax Bill

Feb 2, 2021 State Of Politics - February 2, 2021

Two state lawmakers have introduced a bill to tax capital gains in New York as the effort to increase taxes on the state's wealthiest residents takes another step forward.

The bill backed by Sen. Gustavo Rivera and Assemblyman Ron Kim taxing investment income would raise $7 billion in revenue for the cash-strapped state, according to lawmakers' estimates.

Keep Reading →

Albany Times Union Editorial on the need for a Tax Hike for the Wealthy

Jan 25, 2021 The Albany Times Union Editorial Board - January 25, 2021

By Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s estimate, New York faces a $15 billion budget shortfall. So why is the state so hesitant to look for revenue where it obviously is: in a booming stock market and the growing incomes of the rich?

Keep Reading →

Cuomo’s Tax Hike Friendlier to the Rich Than Advertised, Budget Experts and Legislators Say

Jan 21, 2021 NY Focus - January 21, 2021

…The tax increase would raise just $1.5 billion in the 2021 fiscal year, paired with $2.8 billion in proposed cuts, and would be enacted only if the federal government does not fulfill New York’s request for $15 billion in unrestricted aid, the governor said. Still, as the New York Times noted, it appeared to signal a significant shift for a governor who had previously resisted calls from the legislature to increase taxes on the wealthy.

But budget documents made available only after Cuomo and his budget director, Robert Mujica, had given their addresses on Tuesday—and thus only after the first round of media coverage of the executive budget—showed that the tax proposal is considerably narrower than the governor’s speech made it seem.

The tax increase would apply only for three years—and would be reimbursable, according to the executive budget briefing book. If high-income taxpayers paid all three years’ surcharge in advance this year, they would be paid back in 2024 and 2025…

Keep Reading →

Progressive lawmakers back comprehensive package of higher state taxes

Jan 21, 2021 WCNY Connected - January 21, 2021

Activists and some lawmakers are calling on the state to raise taxes on the wealthy to help fill the state’s budget gap. Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) shared what she would like to see in a final package.

Listen to the Podcast →

The MTA’s Fare Hike Has Been Postponed, But The Fight Over Revenue Is Just Starting

Jan 20, 2021 StreetsBlog NYC - January 20, 2021

There’s gonna be a showdown. Even after the MTA delayed a planned 4-percent fare hike that the board was set to vote on this week, progressive activists are vowing to keep up the fight to find alternate sources of revenue for the state’s mass transit system and head off a potential vote on the fare hike later this year.

“We want to make clear that postponing a fare hike is not canceling a fare hike,” said Riders Alliance Organizing Manager Stephanie Burgos-Veras at a rally in front of MTA headquarters on Tuesday morning. “In two to three months, people’s financial situations will not magically get better. People are facing food insecurity, housing insecurity, they have seen their families pass away and have had to take on the costs of having to bury loved ones because of a scary and deadly virus.”

Burgos-Veras was part of a collection of activists that rallied in favor of the Invest in Our New York Act, a package of six bills in front of the state Legislature that proponents say would raise $50 billion, some of which could go towards mass transit funding.

Keep Reading →

New Yorkers Must Push Candidates Hard for Economic Recovery Vision

Jan 20, 2021 Gotham Gazette - January 20, 2021

Regardless of Washington, New Yorkers have work to do at home. We’ve been living through a pandemic for just about a year. Everyone in New York is aware we face major budget crises at the state and city levels. Resolution of our fiscal problems is one of the biggest challenges of 2021 and will influence New York City’s choice of candidates for top elected positions, including mayor and comptroller.

This is not a normal election. As we begin to vet candidates in this year’s elections, it is critical that New Yorkers take extra care to research policy proposals beyond the slogans to assess how the next generation of political leaders can strengthen our economy while addressing long-standing systemic inequities…

Keep Reading →

3 Things to Watch for in Cuomo's Budget Plan

Jan 19, 2021 Spectrum News - January 19, 2021

How do you put together a budget without knowing how much money you'll have? That's the kitchen-table problem facing Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York lawmakers in the coming weeks as Albany debates a spending plan and Washington debates a spending bill that could potentially send billions of dollars in aid to offset pandemic-related losses.

Here are three things to watch for today as Cuomo releases his budget plan:

Keep Reading →

New Yorkers Eagerly Await Governor’s Executive Budget

Jan 18, 2021 - January 18, 2021

New York, NY—New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will be presenting his 2022 Executive Budget from the State Capitol on Tuesday, January 19 and political observers, the business community and New Yorkers throughout the city and the state will be waiting to learn how much of a budget hole the state will face almost one year since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Keep Reading →

1 Campaign. 6 Bills. $50 Billion = “Invest in Our NY”

Jan 14, 2021 Spectrum News - January 14, 2021

The “Invest in Our NY” coalition is comprised over 100 statewide organizations looking to persuade lawmakers to pass six bills that would raise over $50 billion in new revenue in 2021.

“This is actually a fiscally wise approach to budgeting,” campaign manager Rebecca Bailin told Capital Tonight. “This is a common sense series of legislation that actually ends tax breaks for the wealthy.”

The six bills would raise taxes on income, wealth, Wall Street transactions and corporations.

One key difference between this campaign and others like it in the past is both the size of the tax increases, $50 billion, and that all the revenue is slated to go into the general fund, rather than being earmarked for special interests.

“The need is massive,” Bailin said. “Spending cuts won’t save us and bring us to recovery but these revenue raisers will. We hope Governor Cuomo will act.”

Keep Reading →

The Budget Crisis Testing Blue State Liberalism

Jan 14, 2021 The Huffington Post - January 14, 2021

Some Democrats, who have promised to fight for ordinary people, are reluctant to raise taxes on the ultra-rich.

“Policymakers have choices,” said Cortney Sanders, a policy analyst for the Center on Budget’s state fiscal policy division. “They can make choices that exacerbate inequalities or they can make choices to move us toward an anti-racist and equitable future.”

Keep Reading →

Freelance and artists’ groups balk at Cuomo’s…

Jan 13, 2021 NY Daily News - January 13, 2021

ALBANY ― Groups representing freelance artists and musicians facing dire straits due to the COVID pandemic are panning Gov. Cuomo’s plan to revitalize New York’s art scene by holding star-studded “pop-up shows” across the state.

The Freelancers Union, the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, the League of Independent Theater and the Music Workers Alliance are calling on the governor to instead raise taxes on the wealthy and create a new Works Progress Administration that could support artists and help get them back to work.

“New York’s performing artists don’t need livestream concerts and comedy shows — we need you to end tax breaks for the wealthy and fund our state so we can survive,” the groups wrote in a letter sent to Cuomo.

Keep Reading →

Democratic lawmakers back new taxes on rich to plug state budget gap

Jan 8, 2021 Rochester City Newspaper - January 8, 2021

Democratic state lawmakers from the Rochester area are backing a package of bills that would raise taxes on wealthy New Yorkers.

Assembly members Harry Bronson, Jen Lunsford, Sarah Clark, and Demond Meeks, along with Senators Jeremy Cooney and Samra Brouk joined together during a Zoom call to announce their support for the Invest in Our New York Act. The series of six bills would place a number of new taxes on the wealthy and would raise between $71 and $94 billion in the first year, according to the lawmakers.

Keep Reading →

Progressive Advocates Unite Around Tax-the-Rich Push in New York

Jan 8, 2021 NY1 - January 8, 2021

Advocacy groups from across the state this week are backing a united push to increase taxes and end tax breaks on upper income earners in New York in a bid to raise $50 billion in revenue ahead of a contentious state budget season.

The groups range from labor unions like DC 37 and PSC-CUNY in New York City to tenant advocacy organizations in Rochester and local progressive organizations with chapters in Tompkins County and Buffalo.

Keep Reading →

Albany legislators voice support for "Invest in Our New York Act"

Jan 7, 2021 WHAM - January 7, 2021

Albany, N.Y./Rochester, N.Y. – Legislators behind a new proposal in Albany say their legislation would target tax breaks against New York’s wealthiest to help reduce the state’s deficit.

The “Invest in Our New York Act” aims to address economic inequality in the state, including for families impacted by COVID-19.

Supporters claim past state budgets have aimed at cutting crucial services as a means to help New York’s economy. This, they allege, has come at a cost for vulnerable New Yorkers.

Keep Reading →

Progressive groups unite to focus on taxing the wealthy

Jan 5, 2021 Times Union - January 5, 2021

ALBANY – With New York anticipating a multi-billion-dollar deficit for years to come, progressive groups are uniting in their efforts to convince state legislators to approve tax increases on the wealthiest New Yorkers.

During a typical legislative session, advocacy groups would flood the Capitol to lobby lawmakers on various causes, programs and issues, but the coronavirus pandemic has kept the Capitol closed to visitors since early in the public health crisis and it remains closed to the public. While some issues progressive groups focus on may dovetail into one another, usually their priorities differ when lobbying lawmakers. But with state budget officials estimating a $64 billion deficit over the next four years, advocacy groups have honed in on raising revenue by taxing those who can afford it as a common cause to achieve their collective priorities.

The size of the budget deficit is up for debate, with policy analysts estimating a smaller gap when factoring in actual revenues and federal aid received.

Dozens of grassroot organizations and legislators on Tuesday held a virtual press conference to draw attention and support for a package of bills that raise taxes on wealthy residents, including taxing Wall Street transactions, a capital gains tax and a tax on inherited wealth, among others, projected to raise over $50 billion, according to a report conducted by the Invest in Our New York Campaign.
[ keep reading ]

Salazar: A Tax on Stocks, Bonds, Other Derivatives Could Raise Over $12B a Year

Jan 5, 2021 NY1 - January 5, 2021

NEW YORK — Ahead of Wednesday's kickoff of the 2021 state legislative session, progressive groups are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Albany lawmakers to deal with a historic fiscal crisis by raising taxes on wealthy New Yorkers.

One of the elected leaders pushing for legislation on this front is State Sen. Julia Salazar of Brooklyn. She joined activists and other progressive figures outside of Cuomo's Manhattan office on Tuesday to launch the "Invest in Our New York Act."
[ keep reading & watch the interview ]

Lawmakers, grassroots groups rally, asking New York to tax the rich

Jan 5, 2021 CNY Central - January 5, 2021

ALBANY, N.Y. (WRGB) — As New York faces an unprecedented budget deficit of $60 billion over 4 years, working New Yorkers refuse to balance the budget on the backs of Black, brown and low-income communities.

…Organizers say Gov. Cuomo has responded to the state's economic crisis with austerity, cutting essential services and failing to provide relief to the millions of New Yorkers who are experiencing food insecurity and are at risk of eviction. Community organizations, labor, faith, and service providers across the state stand with elected representatives in calling for between $50 billion and $70 billion in new, equitable revenue for a just budget and recovery for all.
[ keep reading ]

Public Advocate Williams’ campaign to ‘Invest in NY’ presses Cuomo to tax the rich

Jan 5, 2021 AMNY - January 5, 2021

“We are so proud to launch the ‘Invest in Our New York’ campaign to take care of each other and to rebuild our economy by ending tax breaks for the richest New Yorkers,” said Sochie Nnaemeka, director of the Working Families party.
[ keep reading ]

Progressive Advocates Call for Higher Taxes on Wealthy Ahead of 2021 Legislative Session

Jan 5, 2021 NY1 - January 5, 2021

Facing a multi-billion budget deficit brought on by the pandemic, a coalition of Democrats and their progressive allies say the solution is higher taxes on the wealthy.

“Yes, we need federal government help. I will give you that. But even that alone won’t save this city’s new state,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. “What [you] have to do as governor is use all of the tools that are available to you. You have not done that.”

In a 35-page report titled, “invest in our New York, plan to fund our future,” advocates made their case that the wealthy are not paying their fair share, and need to step up now.
[ keep reading ]

As New York faced COVID-caused financial crunch, lawmakers and grassroots push to make the wealthy pay higher taxes

Jan 5, 2021 New York Daily News - January 05, 2021

ALBANY — A new coalition of progressive legislators and grassroots organizations wants New York’s billionaires to pay their fair share.

"By ending tax breaks for the rich, Gov., Cuomo and our leaders in Albany can prove their commitment to small businesses struggling to keep their doors open, students who deserve quality education, and everyday New Yorkers who suddenly find themselves unemployed, on food lines and unable to pay their rent," said Rebecca Bailin, who is managing the campaign.
[ keep reading ]

Progressives launch campaign to tax the rich — Cuomo, de Blasio trade blame on vaccine delays — More contagious U.K. Covid strain found in New York

Jan 5, 2021 POLITICO - January 5, 2021

One day before the Legislature is supposed to start its new session, the big names on the state’s progressive left are announcing a coalition and campaign called Invest In Our New York, which promises that raising revenue from the richest individuals and corporations will be their top priority in 2021. They’re starting later today outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York City office and are planning a multi-punch rollout with events in Albany, Rochester and Long Island this week.

It’s a direct counter to the past and current budgeting practices of the governor, who has for months held off on addressing the fiscal strain he says the pandemic has caused and instead chosen to wait on the federal government for aid.
[ keep reading ]

Economists urge New York to hike taxes on billionaires

Dec 11, 2020 Politico

Progressive policy advocates are ramping up pressure for a wealth tax in New York as the state's budget hole grows and neighboring New Jersey already has chosen to increase taxes on millionaires.

Fifty economists from across the nation sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state’s legislative leaders this week in support of a proposal to hike taxes on New York’s billionaires. The letter arrived as the Legislature gears up for a full session schedule that will largely revolve around resolving the state’s more than $8 billion budget gap, which is expected to worsen in the following years.

Keep Reading →