Stringer calls on Albany to tax the rich, but mum on NYC property taxes

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Michael Gartland, New York Daily News
·2 min read
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New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer called on the state to institute a wealth tax Tuesday, arguing that expected infusions of federal stimulus cash won’t be enough to sustain the city’s long-term financial and civic health.

Stringer, who’s running for mayor, included the tax-the-rich call in his annual response to the mayor’s preliminary spending plan, which aims to close a $5.5 billion budget gap.

He laid out both short-term and long-term plans to address the devastation the COVID pandemic has left in its wake — the short-term, he said, could be covered through money from the federal government, but long-term, the city would need Albany to increase taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

“We’re going to have to identify revenue streams — steady, stable revenue streams — to transform our amazing city,” Stringer said. “That’s why I support the Invest in Our New York City agenda in Albany.”

The proposal he referred to, the Invest in Our New York Act, is a package of six bills that would raise taxes on wealthy residents, corporations and Wall Street financial transactions.

Stringer did not say whether he supports raising city property taxes to raise revenues Tuesday, but a spokeswoman from his office said he favors using the stimulus and money raised through new taxes before turning to any new city-level revenue sources.

The city’s top-short term spending priorities, in Stringer’s estimation, should be to “cancel rent for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who have fallen behind through no fault of their own” and to provide food and social services for those in need, including undocumented immigrants.

In the long-term, he said, the city will need to shore up several areas, including efforts to “rebuild” the New York City Housing Authority and investing in health care, public safety and transit.

Stringer also reiterated his criticisms of Mayor de Blasio spending to address homelessness, mental health and housing inmates on Rikers Island — with relatively little to show for it.

“We’re spending more than $3 billion a year on homelessness — twice as much now as we did seven years ago — but what’s really changed? Not much,” he said. “Despite this huge spend, more than 21,000 of our children will sleep in a shelter tonight.”