Cuomo Says New York Will Have to Raise Taxes

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday his state will have to raise taxes even if Congress and the White House agree on a coronavirus relief/stimulus package of benefits that provides funding to local governments.

“If Washington gives us some of it, then we’re going to have to redo a budget,” Cuomo said during a briefing with reporters. “We’re going to have to raise taxes — I believe we’re going to have to raise taxes, at the end of the day, in any event. The question is, how much in tax?”

The governor offered no hints as to which taxes he would try to raise, and aides also were non-committal, The Wall Street Journal said. However, state employee layoffs and borrowing were on the table.

“New York is one of the highest taxed states in the nation, and raising taxes will result in the continuation of the exodus from this state,” State Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, R-Niagara County, said in a statement.

State officials in October said state revenues plunged $13.5 billion from its February projections due to outbreak of the novel coronavirus and the restrictions put in place to minimize its spread.

New York is projecting an $8.7 billion deficit for the fiscal year that begins April 1.

Republicans and Democrats in Washington have been arguing for six months about a second stimulus bill.

House Democrats in May passed a $3.4 trillion HEROES Act, a bill designed to replace some of the measures that expired from the original Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act. The CARES Act, adopted in late March, was a $2.2 trillion package that included direct payments to most taxpayers, as well as assistance to businesses. It also offered enhanced unemployment compensation.

The Democrats’ second package included replacements for things such as the payroll protection plan and enhanced unemployment compensation, but also adding items such as payments to local and state governments.

The White House and Republicans balked, particularly at the payments to local and state governments, initially offering a $1 trillion package. The two sides have gone back-and-forth since, with the House Democrats approving a $2.2 trillion package in October and the White House reportedly countering with as much as $1.8 trillion. McConnell remained steadfast and even suggested a $500 billion package.

A more recent $908 billion package has been endorsed by Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin offered a $916 billion package.