A coalition of more than two dozen progressive organizations on Friday is set to release a letter to House Democrats from the state urging them to take a harder line on taxing the country's wealthiest citizens amid a roiling debate in Washington over the issue.
At the forefront of the push is an effort to generate revenue to help pay for a major domestic spending plan backed by President Joe Biden that would fund a range of programs, expanding educational opportunities and providing child care and combatting climate change.
But Democrats in Congress are at odds over how to raise revenue to pay for it. Progressives were disappointed by the tax proposals made this week in the House of Representatives, narrowly controlled by a four-vote margin in favor of the Democrats, arguing the provisions fell short of addressing accumulated wealth and fortunes.
"Taxing the incomes, wealth, and corporations of the super-rich to invest in our communities is timely, effective and popular with New Yorkers: we urge you to demand that Speaker Pelosi and the House join Majority Leader Schumer and the Senate in bold action to tax the rich," the letter from 26 groups, including Strong Economy for All and the Patriotic Millionaires stated.
The groups' letter pointed to the state budget approved earlier this year that sought tax rate hikes on upper income earners in New York, leading to billions of dollars in additional revenue that was put to boosted spending for schools in the state.
"New York voters support higher taxes on income, wealth, and big corporations -- the recent state budget initiatives to tax the rich to fund new investment in communities won big majority support statewide, including from independents, 'moderates,' and even Republicans," the letter states.
The organizations called for changes that include taxing the rate for capital gains income of more than $1 million, taxes on inherited wealth, and an end to the so-called carried interest loophole in the tax law.
"Taxing the rich isn't just good policy, it's good politics. Every poll on any measure of taxing the rich shows large bipartisan majorities in favor," said Morris Pearl, the chairman of the Patriotic Millionaires. "If Democrats want to sell their legislative agenda to voters, the best thing they could do would be to use this opportunity to end the preferential treatment that rich people like me currently receive in the tax code."