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New York Democrats weigh higher taxes, legalizing weed and sports betting as city deficit explodes

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Jake Dima, DCNF

New York State Democrats are considering raising taxes and legalizing marijuana as ways to overcome a budget that is projected to experience a deficit in the “billions,” according to a report.

The liberal legislators mulled raising taxes and decriminalizing cannabis as well as sports betting to recoup lost money during the coronavirus pandemic in a Wednesday meeting, the New York Post reported. Democratic Assembly Education Committee Chairman Michael Benedetto said his state is “going to be billions of dollars short” for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, according to the Post. “


“If there was an idea to raise money, it was discussed today,” Benedetto told The Post. “Everything was discussed at great length. It was a very sober meeting. There’s going to be more sober meetings. It’s heavy stuff.”

Lawmakers considered raising income tax rates on billionaires and millionaires in addition to imposing a possible tax on stocks and second homes, according to the Post. The New York chapter of Democratic Socialists of America is also engaging in a phone campaign to sway public opinion in favor of the tax hikes, as opposed to the alternative of slashing funding from education and other public welfare services, the Post reported.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a Wednesday press briefing warned of tax increases and government employee layoffs if the federal government does not come through with a stimulus package.

“If we do not get federal funding, the consequences are going to be devastating to this state, and the families and governments within the state,” Cuomo said, according to the Post. “You can see the layoff of several thousand government workers unless the federal government is truly responsible and accountable, and really gives New York the funding it deserves.”

“You’ll see tax increases….you could see dramatic tax increases that would hurt families and hurt the economy.”

The governor has also indicated a willingness to legalize marijuana as a possible source of revenue for the state, the Post reported.

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