Increasing taxes on upper income New Yorkers this month is still a possibility as the state is set to receive about $12.5 billion in direct aid from the federal government, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.
Cuomo's budget proposal backed a tax rate hike on those who earn more than $5 million and above in a spending plan that had assumed the state would receive only $3 billion in aid from Congress for the year.
The House of Representatives is set to put the finishing touches on a bill that would send billions of dollars in aid to state and local governments that have seen steep revenue declines during the COVID-19 pandemic, part of a broader $1.9 trillion aid package largely aimed at low and middle-income Americans.
Cuomo had initially indicated in January an aid package of $15 billion would be able to close the budget gap and prevent spending reductions along with tax increases.
“It’s the difference between $12.5 billion and $15 billion, and don’t get me wrong — $12.5 billion is very, very helpful,” Cuomo said in a conference call on Sunday. “We needed $15 billion, in my opinion, so we do have a gap there, and tax increases are on the table.”
Some fiscal watchdogs have pointed to a smaller budget gap than the one Cuomo has described. At the same time, new revenue projections show the dire fiscal picture facing the state during the pandemic-induced recession has brightened somewhat in recent weeks.
The budget is expected to pass by the end of March.
Democratic lawmakers who control both chambers of the Legislature are expected to support budget resolutions that call for additional taxes on the rich as well as the financial services sector.