Health care volunteers who traveled to New York amid pandemic to be slapped with state income tax

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Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to thank health care workers who voluntarily traveled to New York to help in the coronavirus crisis is to charge them for it.

The Democrat announced Tuesday at a news conference that those who answered New York’s call for help and put their lives on the line to lend their professional help in the nation’s coronavirus epicenter will now be subject to state income taxes.

(Image: NBC News screenshot)

Thousands of medical workers who traveled to the state amid the pandemic will now have to offset New York’s $13 billion deficit, according to Cuomo who said it would be “irresponsible” of him not to charge them.

“We’re not in a position to provide any subsidies right now because we have a $13 billion deficit,” Cuomo said.

“So there’s a lot of good things I’d like to do, and if we get federal funding, we can do, but it would be irresponsible for me to sit here looking at a $13 billion deficit and say I’m gonna spend more money, when I can’t even pay the essential services,” he added.

To add insult to injury, income that the healthcare workers may make from jobs they have in their home states while they were serving in New York could also be taxed by the Empire State, according to WPIX-TV.

“If we don’t get more money from Washington, we can’t fund schools, right, so at the rate we want to fund them. We are in dire financial need,” Cuomo said Tuesday.

An official with Samaritan’s Purse become aware of the issue in a discussion when the charity organization, which is headquartered in Boone, North Carolina, was setting up a temporary field hospital in Central Park at the beginning of April.

“Our financial comptroller called me,” Ken Isaacs, the organization’s vice president of programs and government relations, told WPIX. “And he said, ‘Do you know that all of you are going to be liable for New York state income tax?'”

“I said, ‘What?'” Isaacs continued. “[The comptroller] said, ‘Yeah, there’s a law. If you work in New York State for more than 14 days, you have to pay state income tax.'”

“I didn’t know that,” Isaacs told WPIX. “What we’re even more concerned about than the money is the bureaucracy, and the paperwork, and I think that once that’s unleashed…once you start filing that, you have to do that for like a whole year or something.”

The healthcare workers and groups like Samaritan’s Purse “will have to register in New York and do withholding here in New York,” Lawrence Spielman, a certified public accountant in New York City, explained.

Cuomo made an appeal for emergency help back in March as the pandemic ravaged New York.

“I am asking health care professionals across the country, if you don’t have a health care crisis in your community, please come help us in New York right now,” Cuomo said from the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan where a temporary hospital was set up. “We need relief.”

Rev. Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, noted in an interview with Faithwire this week that the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City initially reached out to his organization about coming to help, a decision that eventually made the faith-based humanitarian group a target for anti-Christian and pro-LGBTQ groups.

“They’re the ones who called us originally,” Franklin said as the field hospital, which served more than 300 patients free of charge, began to end operations this week.

“We didn’t call them; they called us,” he continued. “And we agreed to go and we have not charged them one penny. All of our services have been paid by God’s people.”

Cuomo’s latest comments added to the criticisms being leveled at the state’s leadership amid the COVID-19 pandemic and Twitter users were quick to comment.

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Frieda Powers

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