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Strong Opposition to Proposed Tax Hikes Gaining Momentum Statewide in Business Community

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A groundswell of opposition to proposed tax hikes in New York State’s budget is beginning to gain momentum as evident this week in a series of letters sent to the Governor and state lawmakers from the business community expressing its strong opposition any proposed tax increases. And the Business Council Westchester is taking the lead on several fronts.

In a dramatic demonstration of the business community’s overwhelming opposition to proposed tax increases, a letter signed by more than 250 large employers and small business leaders warned that tax hikes will delay economic recovery.

The letter, which was sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, stated, “Significant corporate and individual tax increases will make it far more difficult to restart the economic engine and reassemble the deep and diverse talent pool that makes New York the greatest city in the world. We are not alone in this view; among others, the nonpartisan Citizens Budget Commission has said these tax increases are ‘both unnecessary and economically risky,’ thanks to federal aid and higher than expected tax receipts in 2020.”

The letter stated “this is not about companies threatening to leave the state; this is simply about our people voting with their feet. Ultimately, these new taxes may trigger a major loss of economic activity and revenues as companies are pressured to relocate operations to where the talent wants to live and work. This is what happened to New York during the 1970s, when we lost half our Fortune 500 companies, and it took thirty years to recover.”

Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, took the lead on the letter while Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the BCW, recruited major Westchester businesses to sign on to the letter.

On another front, the BCW joined with the Business Council of New York State and nine other statewide business organizations in a letter to all State Legislators opposing any tax increases.

“The $30 billion in general and categorical aid flowing to New York State and its local governments will allow the State to adopt FY 2022 budget that fills potential spending gaps and provides for significant resources in key spending areas, including education, higher education, housing, health care, childcare and others,” stated the letter adding “a “well-funded state budget can be achieved without major, damaging increases in taxes on New York’s private sector.”

“Our organizations – which together represent thousands of New York State employers and several million private sector jobs – are strongly opposed to the significant business tax increases included in the Senate and Assembly budget resolutions and one-house budget bills. We believe these increased taxes – in addition to being unnecessary – will adversely impact businesses, investment levels and jobs at a time when New York should be focused on rebuilding its economy. Together, these tax measures would impose $1 billion or more in increased taxes on New York State employers,” read the letter.

The letter concluded, “COVID-19 has impacted New York in ways that none of us fully understand yet. A healthy state economy requires a strong partnership between business and government. We urge you to hold off on major tax and spending changes until the pandemic is behind us and the path to recovery is better defined.”

Separately, the BCW has written to each of state legislators in the Westchester delegation urging them to oppose any proposed tax increases in the state budget.

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