New York ‘Elites’ Send Letter to Lawmakers Asking to Raise Their Taxes
According to the Associated Press, as many as 80 millionaires and billionaires of New York state, including George Soros, Steven Rockefeller, and Abigail Disney have all signed a letter to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying they and other top earners should pay more so the state can fix its failing infrastructure and boost social programs that help the lower and middle classes.
“Now is the time to invest in the long-term economic viability of New York,” according to the letter obtained by the AP and reported by ABC News. “We need to invest in pathways out of poverty and up the economic ladder for all of our fellow citizens, including strong public education from pre-K to college. And, we need to invest in the fragile bridges, tunnels, waterlines, public buildings, and roads that we all depend on.”
The proposal would create new, higher-income tax brackets for top earners with a goal of raising an additional $2 billion in state revenue.
According to ABC News, many of the New York elites who signed the letter are millionaires (at minimum) and make more than $650,000 per year. That puts them in the top one percent in the state.
ABC News reports the economic think tank Fiscal Policy Institute is behind the proposal. The institute’s executive director, Ron Deutsch, told ABC News it was “refreshing” to see so many of the state’s high earners pushing for the change to contribute more.
“They support higher taxes on themselves so the state can fund our glaring human and physical infrastructure needs and have adequate revenue in place to handle pending federal cuts,” Deutsch said, according to ABC News.
The proposal in many ways mirrors the populist approach that former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been championing.
“We’re the richest nation in history. And yet 1 in 4 Americans have to choose between medicine or other necessities like food,” Sanders wrote in a March 19 tweet.
Whether lawmakers in New York can put the proposal into law remains to be seen, but it at least shows some willingness on part of New York elites that they see the tax system unfairly benefits them at the expense of others’ well being.