Eight Bronx State Senators & Assembly Members today committed to block any state budget cuts without first raising revenue from the wealthy to close the state’s $14.3 billion budget deficit. The eight Bronx electeds are among 100 legislators and 16 labor unions, including 11SEIU and 32BJ SEIU, pledging to block cuts without a wealth tax. Yet Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to refuse to consider raising revenue, and is instead planning to cut at least $10 billion from nurses, public school teachers, senior services and food banks. New data released in May revealed the net worth of New York’s 118 billionaires increased by $44.9 billion during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Ultra-millionaires and billionaires should not be the only constituency held harmless in this crisis. 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,” pledged 100 elected officials in their joint statement.
Signatories span the entire state, including New York City, the Hudson Valley, Rochester, Syracuse, the Capital District, Long Island, Buffalo, Binghamton, and Elmira. The Bronx legislators signed on to the pledge include:
- Senator Alessandra Biaggi
- Senator Jose Serrano, Jr.
- Senator Gustavo Rivera
- Assemblymember Michael Benedetto
- Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz
- Assemblymember Victor Pichardo
- Assemblymember Karines Reyes
- Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez
“Long before COVID-19, New York’s working people and communities of color bore the burden of underfunded schools, hospitals, and localities — while billionaires and ultra-millionaires kept growing wealthier. Now, as our students, our teachers, and our nurses face even more severe budget cuts, a critical mass of legislators is saying enough is enough,” said Strong Economy for All Director Michael Kink. “These last three weeks have shown that when we come together to demand a better future, we can win. We applaud our elected officials for using their political will to stand up and deliver for working people.”
Governor Cuomo has correctly stated the wealthy are doing fine:
- May 26: Governor Cuomo: “The top end of the economy will be fine.”
- May 12: Governor Cuomo: “This does not have to be a giveaway to the rich millionaires who are doing just fine anyway.”
- New data released in May revealed the net worth of New York’s 118 billionaires increased by $44.9 billion during coronavirus, or 8.6%, from March 18, 2020 to May 15, 2020. At present, New York’s billionaires have a combined net worth of $566.4 billion. Meanwhile, over two million working New Yorkers have lost employment since mid-March, with Black and Brown communities suffering the most.
Governor Cuomo has refused to support any of the following wealth taxes, despite the state’s budget deficit:
- $5.5 billion – billionaire’s tax
- $4.3 billion – an ultra-millionaire wealth tax
- $3.2 billion – stock buyback tax
- $650 million – a tax on wealthy New Yorkers’ luxury second and third homes
An overwhelming majority of New Yorkers support a combination of an ultra-millionaire tax, pied-a-terre tax, and repeals of stock transfer tax refunds and yacht and jet sales taxes, which together could plug the $8 billion deficit.
View the full commitment and list of signatories here.