If the federal government doesn’t give New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo what he wants, his state’s residents will pay for it — literally.
Cuomo last week presented his 2022 budget to the state Legislature for the fiscal year that begins this April 1, according to the Washington Examiner.
On the revenue side, Cuomo requested $15 billion in COVID-19 relief from the feds. If that request is approved, there even will be a tax cut, he said. He called the amount requested “fair” based on the pandemic and New York’s status as the top donor state in the nation.
But woe betide if Plan B is called for, which Cuomo said will be implemented if the state gets a requested $6 billion in aid.
In that case, the next installment of a middle-class tax cut that began in the state in 2018 and is supposed to be fully effective by 2025 would be delayed by a year, according to Politico.
The state also would implement an income tax increase to top earners and cut education aid by $2 billion while trimming Medicaid and social services programs. The governor also said the state could raise revenue through mobile sports betting and legalizing recreational marijuana, according to the Examiner.
But the lawyers would be busy, because Cuomo said that without $15 billion from Washington, he might sue the federal government for the amount.
“I cannot in good faith represent the people of this state and know that they are being harmed and know that they are being treated unfairly and not do everything within my power to try to do what is right by New York,” Cuomo said.
“New York paid a bill for COVID that no state in the nation paid for, and it’s not even close in many ways,” he said. “The remaining cost is $15 billion.”
Cuomo said $15 billion also is the size of the state’s deficit, according to Rochester First.
Cuomo, a staunch foe of former President Donald Trump, continued to blame Trump for the state’s problems.
“Yes, President Trump is gone, but the damage to New York remains,” Cuomo said. “This isn’t about having an individual leaving the White House. It’s to restore the damage he did and change the policies. That’s why the people of this country voted to remove him. That’s why the people of this country voted to change the leadership in the Senate. It was a vote to undo the damage of the past four years, and that’s what we want our federal representatives to do,” he said.
Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins, majority leader of the New York state Senate, said she’s on board for increasing taxes.
“The wealthy have gotten wealthier during this crisis even as the middle class has shrunk and millions of New Yorkers have struggled to make ends meet,” she said, according to the Examiner. “We must be ready to act as a state to advance efforts to raise revenues, including having the hyper-wealthy share this burden.”
Republican state Sen. Jim Tedisco called Cuomo’s proposal a “blame game budget,” according to a release on Tedisco’s website.
“From listening to the Governor’s presentation, one would think it’s everyone else’s responsibility for balancing New York State’s budget but his. Other than selling drugs and trying to get more gambling dollars, which would provide minimal revenue and bring a whole new set of safety and financial costs, the Governor presented zero proposals or a realistic plan to make New York economically viable going forward,” he stated.
“Governor Cuomo’s blame game budget proposal was just more of the same tired rhetoric accusing the federal government and just about everyone and everything else for New York State’s woes and not taking any responsibility for his own failed leadership.”
Tedisco said taxes are the reason New York is in crisis.
“And once again, the Governor refused to talk about the elephant in the room, which is the fact that New York State is number one in taxes and coincidentally again leads the nation in outmigration of residents with 126,000 people leaving last year and over 1 million in the past decade of his watch, which will likely lead to the state losing two congressional seats in the next redistricting,” he said.
“The millions who have fled our state and those who are now contemplating their exodus to a more taxpayer-friendly state have one thing in common: No one wants to be the last one left in New York to pay for our state’s overzealous taxes, regulations, mandates and laws.
“The last thing the state should be doing is raising taxes again. We need both a short term plan to address the budget deficit and a long term policy of moderation and common sense — not more social experimentation on the taxpayer’s dime!” Tedisco said in his statement.