250 CEOs and execs express “alarm” over largest tax hike in New York history

Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State, speaks at a press conference in New York City on September 8, 2020.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

A group of 250 CEOs and executives sent a letter to the New York governor and lawmaker raising “alarm” about what they believe could become the largest spending and tax hike in the state’s history.

The letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Democratic members of the State Assembly and Senate urged politicians to postpone tax increases until the state and New York City have better recovered from the pandemic and workers have returned. Employing over 1.5 million people, executives said many of their workers have moved out of town and if taxes go up, “they will vote with their feet”.

“Only about 10% of our colleagues are in the office and the future of a dense urban workplace is uncertain,” the letter said. “Many of our employees have relocated their families elsewhere, generally with much lower taxes than New York, and the proposed tax increases will make it more difficult to get them to return.”

Those who signed the letters include Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock Inc., Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup, and Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue. The group said, “Significant corporate and individual tax increases will make it far more difficult to restart the engine of the economy and reassemble the deep and diverse talent pool that makes New York the largest city in the world.”

“It’s not about companies threatening to leave the state. It’s just about our people voting with their feet,” the letter said. “Ultimately, these new taxes can cause a significant loss of economic activity and revenue as companies are pressured to relocate where the talent wants to live and work. This happened in New York in the 1970s when We lost half of our assets to 500 companies and it took thirty years to recover. “

Governor Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Democratic members of the State Assembly and Senate have proposed a series of tax increases for businesses and high earners that could exceed $ 6 billion a year. They say the pandemic is increasing inequality in New York and requiring higher taxes for businesses and high earners to fund welfare programs and narrow the wealth gap.

However, the household picture in New York has improved recently. The state is set to receive $ 12.5 billion in unrestricted funding from the federal stimulus plan, and New York state director Robert Mujica said the stimulus fund and stronger-than-expected tax revenue would allow the state to do so Avoid budget cuts.

The group said it understood the “pressing human needs” and inequalities exposed by the pandemic, but the proposed tax hikes or policy changes should come after New York’s recovery.

“As soon as we are on our way to restoring more than a million jobs and thousands of small businesses that New York has lost in the last twelve months, we may need to generate new revenue to fill the gaps in our education, health and social care . ” Welfare systems, “says the letter.

Rebecca Bailin, campaign manager for Invest in Our New York, an attempt to fund social programs by taxing the rich, said the letter read, “250 wealthy people in their homes are advocating the status quo.”

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