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“If we don’t get funding from Washington, there will be an income tax increase,” Cuomo said during a radio interview. “The [budget] hole is so big that if we don’t get federal funding, you will have to increase taxes on the higher end, you’ll also have to cut services, you’ll also have to borrow and you’ll probably have to lay off. That’s the scale of this deficit.”
Cuomo went on to say that income tax increases are more of a political issue than a financial fix, noting that it’s very “popular” to say “tax the millionaires.”
“If we go to the highest income tax bracket in the United States of America, OK, higher than California, which is now the highest – we’re the second highest – higher than California, maybe you make $1.5 billion, maybe you make $2 billion – you’re talking about a hole of $30 billion.”
That’s why, the New York governor said, cuts to services, borrowing and other unappealing measures would be necessary to chip away at the remainder of the deficit.
Cuomo has been publicly hesitant to raise tax rates on New York’s wealthiest residents while New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has indicated he is more inclined to do so.
The three-term Democratic governor acknowledged that many of the state’s wealthiest residents had left because of the outbreak over the spring and summer months – noting that they had enough mobility to choose not to return.
Cuomo, however, has been pressing the federal government to dole out more aid to the states – a request that has so far gone unfulfilled as lawmakers have been unable to find common ground on a stimulus package.
Spending on state and local governments has been one of the points of contention between Republicans and Democrats.