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Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed that he is begging wealthy New Yorkers to return to their Manhattan homes and save the city form the financial strain of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Democrat told reporters that he has been speaking with New York City residents who fled at the outbreak of the virus to their weekend homes in the Hamptons, or out of state to places like Connecticut. Cuomo has been fighting a push by other lawmakers to raise taxes to cover revenue shortages while begging residents to leave their retreats and come back to New York City to help avert a financial crisis.
As thousands of the city’s wealthiest residents escaped what had become the country’s coronavirus epicenter a few months ago, they have not returned despite assurances from the governor that the pandemic is now “under control.”
“I literally talk to people all day long who are now in their Hamptons house who also lived here, or in their Hudson Valley house or in their Connecticut weekend house, and I say, ‘You gotta come back, when are you coming back?’” Cuomo said at a press conference on Monday.
“‘We’ll go to dinner, I’ll buy you a drink, come over I’ll cook’,” he added.
In New York City holding a briefing. Watch Live: https://t.co/DfSsjeg2g7
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) August 3, 2020
New York City faces a $30 billion deficit in the wake of the pandemic and it seems the Democratic leadership may be reaping the consequences of months of leftist policies that allowed looting and rioting to go virtually unchecked following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
And now lawmakers are pushing for raising taxes on the wealthiest residents to offset the shortfall. But the governor has been fighting the calls for a tax hike, warning that the move may be the deciding factor in many of the residents deciding to stay put in their second homes.
“They’re not coming back right now,” Cuomo said.
“And you know what else they’re thinking? ‘If I stay here, I’ll pay a lower income tax,’ because they don’t pay the New York City surcharge,” the third-term Democrat added. “Our population, one percent of the population [of N.Y.C.] pays 50 percent of the taxes. And they’re the most mobile people on the globe.”
Democrats like state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie have sided with those pushing for a tax hike, breaking from Cuomo’s stand to avoid the move.
The @NYSA_Majority has long favored asking those with more to pay their fair share. So many of our neighbors are suffering during this crisis, and we must ask those New Yorkers that do very well to do a little bit more.
— Carl E. Heastie (@CarlHeastie) July 29, 2020
Cuomo has also been pushing for a lifeline from Washington, hoping for Congress to come through with more funding even as New York’s Democrat-run Legislature works on a back-up plan.
“They have to deliver,” Cuomo said at the press briefing.
“We have federal representatives, we have senators and we have congresspeople. We pay them to pass a piece of legislation that’s going to help New York. And it’s simple, if the federal legislature is not going to help New York, you know what I say to them? ‘Don’t pass it! It can’t pass without you! Don’t pass a piece of legislation that doesn’t restore New York’s funds,’” he said.
“If you pass a piece of legislation that requires New York to raise taxes, raise a millionaires’ tax in this environment in New York City, where we’re struggling … We used to be worried [with a] millionaires’ tax, people might leave,” Cuomo continued. “No. The burden shifted. We’re trying to get people to come back. We’re trying to get them to come back. COVID’s under control.”
Besides the high unemployment rates and the inability of residents and businesses to meet monthly rent obligations, the city has also seen a sharp spike in crime even as Mayor Bill de Blasio cut the NYPD’s budget by $1 billion.
This’s why the rich left pic.twitter.com/qgQxtHVPDe
— Liz Rodriguez (@lizrod809) August 6, 2020
De Blasio announced Wednesday that checkpoints will be set up in New York City to screen people coming from one of the 34 states that Cuomo has designated a COVID-19 risk.
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