New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he is on the horn every day pleading with rich New York City residents who fled The Big Apple over COVID-19 to return, as the city faces massive revenue shortages and leaders are seeking more in taxes from the rich to fill the void.
What are the details?
New York City was hit heavily by the coronavirus pandemic when the virus first hit the U.S., causing a mass exodus among the city's wealthiest residents. Cuomo fears the elites who remain holed up in the Hamptons and elsewhere might set up permanent residency and never return, considering the hefty taxes they are certain to be hit with if they come back.
"I literally talk to people all day long who are now in their Hamptons house who also lived here, or in their Hudson Valley house, or in their Connecticut weekend house, and I say, 'You got to come back! We'll go to dinner! I'll buy you a drink! Come over, I'll cook!'" Cuomo said during a press conference Monday.
"They're not coming back right now," the Democrat continued. "And you know what else they're thinking? 'If I stay here, I'll pay a lower income tax,' because they don't pay the New York City surcharge."
According to the New York Post, Cuomo noted that "the wealthiest 1 percent of the Empire State's population picks up roughly 50 percent of the state's tax burden."
The Daily Mail reported that Cuomo has been fighting off calls from lawmakers who want to raise taxes on the top one percent of earners, warning that doing so could convince more of the wealthy to stay gone for good. Meanwhile, New York City leaders are scrambling to come up with a way to make up for a gaping $30 billion deficit over the next two years, as revenue continues to tank amid strict ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
The Daily Wire reported that "New York remains the epicenter of the country's battle with COVID-19, having suffered at least 32,422 deaths from the virus, second only to New Jersey."
On Wednesday, de Blasio announced that New York City would set up checkpoints to screen people entering the city to determine whether travelers were coming from one of the 34 states Cuomo has flagged as a COVID-19 risk. Residents of such states must quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival in New York City under the governor's rules, and violators could face fines of up to $10,000.
High taxes are not the only reason absent New Yorkers may not want to return. The city has seen a sharp spike in crime — already surpassing last year's 777 shootings as of Aug. 1 — while the city council and Mayor Bill de Blasio cut the NYPD's budget by $1 billion in reaction to the George Floyd protests.