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Know Your Rights
Source: QNS
Subject: COVID-19
Type: Media Coverage

Queens lawmaker joins organizers to end tax breaks for wealthiest New Yorkers

Assemblyman Ron Kim joined statewide elected officials, grassroots organizations and advocates on Tuesday, Jan. 5, outside of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office in Manhattan to launch a new historic state legislative package to rebuild New York’s economy and end tax breaks for the wealthiest New Yorkers.

The legislation, Invest in Our New York Act, would represent the single largest measure taken to close New York’s inequality gap in decades, marking a massive reversal from years of austerity budgets that have decimated public schools, affordable housing, healthcare, immigrant workers and localities, while providing tax breaks to the wealthiest New Yorkers.

“Now, it is time to lead the nation with the boldest tax justice agenda designed to break up the extreme concentration of wealth that’s causing the worst economic divide we have seen in human history,” said Kim, who is the lead sponsor of the Capital Gains Tax Bill included in the package. “It is time to fight like hell to make sure every New Yorker’s basic human needs are met: food, shelter, healthcare and education.”

For years, Kim’s colleagues in the Assembly have pushed for progressive tax policies to make sure the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share to the state, Kim said. The legislation is a package of six state bills that raises more than $50 billion to rebuild the economy by ending tax breaks for New York’s wealthiest.

The Invest in Our New York Act includes the following bills:

  • Bill 1: The Progressive Income Tax – Creates a tax system where New Yorkers pay a significantly higher rate if they earn significantly more money. Raises: $12-18 billion.
  • Bill 2: Capital Gains Tax – Taxes income from investments like stocks the same as wages. Raises: $7 billion. 
  • Bill 3: Heirs’ Tax – A progressive tax on large sums of inherited wealth. Raises: $8 billion.
  • Bill 4: Billionaires’ Tax –  An additional tax on billionaires, and constitutional amendment to allow a wealth tax. Raises: $23 billion in the first year, $1.3 billion per year thereafter. 
  • Bill 5: Wall Street Tax – A small tax on Wall St. financial transactions. Raises: $12-29 billion.
  • Bill 6: Corporate Tax – A bill to repeal the Trump tax cuts, by restoring taxes on the profit a corporation makes each year. Raises: $9 billion.

The “Invest in Our New York” campaign additionally released a new report, “Invest In Our New York: Plan to Fund Our Future,” that outlines the state’s decade of economic mismanagement and underfunded public services, leading to the economic crisis New York faces today — and the legislative path to recovery.

Campaign launches are being held across New York state this week, with public events in New York City, Albany, Rochester and Long Island.

The campaign is led by Alliance for Quality Education, Citizen Action, Empire State Indivisible, Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, New York Working Families Party, NYC-DSA, Strong Economy for All, VOCAL-NY, New York Communities for Change and Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance/Housing Justice for All.

This historic coalition pledged for the first time to prioritize revenue-raising as the single top priority for the 2021 legislative session through a statewide campaign including town halls, lobby days, phone banking, canvassing and more.

The campaign is headed by campaign manager Rebecca Bailin, who previously led the successful campaigns to win billions of dollars of revenue for public transit via congestion pricing and Fair Fares, New York City’s first program providing discount MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers.

“I’m excited to join this historic statewide campaign to rebuild our economy and end tax breaks for the wealthiest New Yorkers,” Bailin said. “Countless New Yorkers not only need help to survive this crisis — they’re also ready to fight for a vision that allows us to thrive.”

By ending tax breaks for the rich, Bailin said, Cuomo and 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.

Nearly one year into the pandemic, immigrant, Black, brown and TGNCIQ+ communities continue to be the hardest hit by COVID-19, while relief from the federal and state government have been “utterly disappointing,” according to Deborah Axt, co-executive director of Make the Road New York.

In the midst of the pandemic, millions of New Yorkers are ineligible for unemployment assistance, pandemic unemployment, a stimulus check, or the underwhelming New York state rent relief program, Axt said.

“Our state will need bold leadership from Albany leaders this 2021 to help our members and communities get through this economic crisis,” Axt said. “Today, we proudly join the urgent demands to raise taxes on the ultra-wealthy to help invest in a New York that provides recovery for all of the communities that we represent.”

In their efforts to rebuild New York and emerge from the devastating pandemic and fiscal crisis, Senator John Liu said they must commit to raising revenue from wealthy New Yorkers who can best afford it.

“Budget cuts will only exacerbate inequities and further harm those that have suffered the most in this public health crisis. Austerity is not the answer; we must invest in vital public programs so New York can come back strong,” Liu said.