Democratic lawmakers once again want to raise taxes on the richest New Yorkers — it's a position opposed by Republicans as well as Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul.
While Republicans question the effect the tax increases could have the state's broader economy, Democrats want to see the money spent to aid lower income New Yorkers struggling amid rising inflation.
Hochul, meanwhile, has resisted calls to increase the personal income tax.
When she unveiled her $227 billion spending plan last month, Hochul touted her budget for not including any increases in New York's personal income tax. But Democrats in the Legislature like Speaker Carl Heastie pointed to the thousands of newly minted millionaires in the state.
"If we're talking about affordability in the state of New York, I think it's more right to ask those who are doing really well to help out those who are not doing really well," Heastie said.
Democrats in the state Senate and Assembly unveiled their own budget plans this week, non-binding roadmaps for where they would like to take the negotiations in the coming days.
The plans hike taxes on people who earn more than $5 million a year. Even higher rates could kick in for those earning more than $25 million a year. It's a move Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages says is necessary to aid all New Yorkers.
"We know the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer and ensuring that money is going to our communities for a whole host of projects," Solages said.
The money from the proposed tax increase in part would go toward mass transit as well as hospitals that serve low-income people.
"We made a big push to ensure that many of our safety net hospitals are protected and they can could survive and this budget responds to that to make sure everyone has access to health care," Solages said.
The state spending plan is due April 1, though breaking that deadline is viewed as a possiblity by top lawmakers on Wednesday.
Lawmakers two years ago approved higher tax increases, with the revenue largely going toward a record increase in direct aid for schools in New York.
Republicans like Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay said taxing the rich will only make them want to leave the state.
"They're not leaving because of the weather," he said. "They're leaving because New York state is not affordable. We've been on this tax and spend cycle in New York state for the last decade and this is more of the same."
Republican Senate Leader Robert Ortt pointed to the acceleration in New York's population losses as well as the ballooning state budgets of recent years.
"Our state budget, as I've said numerous times and you've probably heard me say numerous times, is already larger than Florida and Texas combined," Ortt said. "They have more people. Florida will soon have more New Yorkers."