Labor unions representing a swath of educational fields on Monday pushed for higher taxes on rich New Yorkers in order to help close a $6.1 billion gap in the state budget.
The unions, including the New York State United Teachers, Professional Staff Congress, United Federation of Teachers and United University Professions, released a poll commissioned by the labor groups that showed 92 percent of voters supported new taxes.
“It’s hard to walk down some Manhattan blocks without bumping into a multimillionaire,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “So while some say it may be hard to consider tax proposals in an election year, we say that it’s hard for our schools to go without the social workers, classroom technology and supplies they need because the state wouldn’t ask the ultrawealthy to pay their fair share.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not embraced a call to hike taxes on the rich, worried such a move would lead to the wealthy leaving the state and a reduction in tax revenue as a result. Democratic state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has also been hesitant to support taxing rich people further, saying it is not the conference's first option.
The poll comes, though, amid the state budget season and calls for new spending on schools and health care in the spending plan, due March 31.
Assembly Democrats are expected to release a budget resolution that once again calls for tax hikes on the wealthy, most likely people who earn more than $5 million.
“Albany cannot balance its budget by shifting its costs onto the backs of our children, sick, elderly and struggling families,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said. “Not in New York City, nor anywhere else. We know there are better solutions to deal with the deficit — millionaires and billionaires shouldering more of their fair share.”