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Progressive lawmakers pushing for higher taxes on ultra-wealthy

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Progressive legislators and organizations in New York are renewing their calls for higher taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents and corporations, as they believe the current system allows the richest New Yorkers to avoid paying their fair share. The advocates argue that the proposed tax reforms would go a long way towards closing New York’s wealth gap, which is one of the highest in the nation. The proposed reforms aim to raise $40 billion in new funds that could be used for policies such as free tuition at state universities or investments in making the state’s buildings more climate-resilient.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

However, the proposed measures face opposition in the Legislature, where previous efforts to increase taxes on the wealthy in 2021 resulted in a prolonged battle between lawmakers and former Governor Andrew Cuomo. Despite these challenges, supporters of the reforms point to a growing national movement to correct the massive wealth gains of the nation’s richest, which have only increased since the pandemic.

The legislation introduced this year would permanently hike taxes levied on corporations making over $2.5 million a year and restructure the tax code to create more progressive tax brackets for residents earning $1 million and above. The lawmakers also aim to ensure that the state taxes large pockets of inherited wealth, while exempting family farms worth less than $5 million and family homes worth less than $1.75 million.

Advocates argue that the estimated $40 billion in revenue from the tax hikes would give the state a windfall that could be used to address lingering inequalities. However, Governor Kathy Hochul, a moderate Democrat, has been reluctant to increase taxes of any kind, especially in the midst of a much-publicized population decline. Her proposed budget does not include personal income tax hikes.

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