(The Center Square) – Amid the economic decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a proposed bill to tax New York billionaires has seen various opposition, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Under S8277, sponsored by state Sen. Jessica Ramos, D-Queens, a tax would be placed on unrealized capital gains and put in a bailout fund for undocumented immigrants and other New York residents who have not received state unemployment or federal stimulus payments.
In a video to support the measure, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., stated New York is home to 118 billionaires.
“Governor Cuomo, we need you to pass a billionaire’s tax in order to make sure that we’re providing for our working families,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It’s time to stop protecting billionaires, and it’s time to start working for working families.”
Activists and state lawmakers also participate in the video.
“The worker bailout that I’m proposing does two things,” Ramos said. “One is it imposes a tax on the unrealized capital gains of billionaires. And we take that money to fund a bailout for workers that were left out of salary subsidy programs.”
Ramos said too many people in New York are in need of basic necessities.
During a recent news conference, Cuomo said imposing such a tax would cause billionaires to leave New York, CNBC reported.
“If they want a tax increase, don’t make New York alone do a tax increase – then they just have the people move to Connecticut. Let the federal government pass a tax increase,” Cuomo said. “And let them apply it all across the country, so you don’t hurt any one state. Because if you take people who are highly mobile, and you tax them, well then they’ll just move next door where the tax treatment is simpler. It has to be done on a federal level.”
The bill was introduced by Ramos in May and is currently before the Senate Budget and Revenue Committee. Its Assembly version, A10414, also introduced in May, has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee.
The Partnership for New York City, a business advocacy group, agreed with the governor that such a tax would lead to wealthy residents to relocate, the New York Post reported.