On Friday, May 26th, New York City Mayor Eric Adams rejected the idea of increasing taxes on the city’s highest income earners, a concept proposed by City Comptroller Brad Lander to address rising costs including those related to the migrant crisis.
Comptroller Lander recently released a report proposing various ways to generate $1 billion annually, such as raising personal income tax for the top 1% and implementing a surcharge on second homes. The report also suggests ending the tax exemption currently enjoyed by Madison Square Garden when it hosts professional hockey and basketball games.
Mayor Adams publicly denounced the notion that higher taxes on New Yorkers are the solution, saying he did not agree with the idea of raising taxes as a solution to the city’s issues. Lander insists that new revenue streams are required to tackle future budget deficits and expand services. The report by the comptroller’s office says, “A serious, long-term savings plan to address out-year budget gaps must be a part of that plan, but if the city is going to expand services to address concerns about affordability, and make new investments in shared economic thriving to address post-pandemic conditions, new revenues will be needed.”
Amidst this, Mayor Adams hinted at potential budget cuts in various agencies as part of his $106 billion budget, which is due to be voted on by June 30th.
While Lander’s tax increase suggestions would necessitate legislative changes in Albany, Governor Kathy Hochul has indicated she does not support such a move. New York City Council members have also criticized the report’s proposals, expressing skepticism over Lander’s intentions.
Mayor Adams stated that increasing taxes isn’t a feasible method to tackle the migrant crisis and called for assistance from the national government. So far, the city has received only a fraction of the requested federal aid to handle these costs.
Additionally, Lander’s projections estimate that New York City will spend around $1 billion more than initially anticipated on the asylum-seeking migrant influx, reaching a total of $4 billion by June 2024, exceeding Mayor Adams’ estimate of $2.9 billion for the same period.
Adams said, “This is not a sustainable method to address this problem, so we just can’t say, ‘We are going to tax our way out of it by hitting New Yorkers with additional taxes.’ We need to get help from the national government, as I’ve been saying for some time now.”