#NYInequality's Winners and Losers of the Week
March 28, 2014
With a budget deal likely to be announced today, it appears the Governor made it one step closer to doing what he unwittingly set out to accomplish--making New York the inequality capital of the world.
The winners of the budget, spanning the Real Housewives of New York, to Eva Moskowitz, to Ken Langone, represent the 1% who have fared the best while average New Yorkers have struggled to see an economy recover. Yet the estate, corporate, and bank tax cuts are designed perfectly to benefit the wealthy few at the expense of New York's middle and working class families.
Cuomo, who Politico described as the "hero" of Wall Street, has a budget that doesn't stop there--the property tax plan forces local governments to cut essential services and school funding so that he can deliver rebate checks to homeowners (and voters) weeks before Election Day.
It's a recipe for disaster. New York's inequality will soar, schools will suffer, local governments will be hobbled, students will be overloaded with debt, children in poverty will starve and working families will be abandoned. But the 1% will be getting a raise.
Here are some more big winners this year from the budget deal:
Andrew Cuomo for Governor 2014 Campaign - It may have been the plan all along--propose an impractical, perverse property tax freeze and consolidation plan up until the very end, when you throw in a rebate check that legislators struggle to vote against. Governor Cuomo's rebate check plan is perfectly timed to arrive in mailboxes just as voters who might not have been paying close attention to government policies begin to start making their minds about whom to vote in as Governor this year.
Joe Henchman and the Koch-backed Tax Foundation - It's always nice to be consulted by your worst enemies, as Joe Henchman found out last week when Larry Schwartz, secretary to the Governor, wanted to make sure the Governor's tax cuts would get rid of that abysmal last place ranking the Tax Foundation gives New York for its business climate. Schwartz, of course, criticized the Tax Foundation two years ago for being "right-wing" and manipulating data to fit its worldview, an argument supported by the rivers of Koch money backing the Tax Foundation--but appears to have changed his mind when faced with the prospect of an election year attack ad.
Billionaires among the 170 Donors representing half of all the money given to campaigns - NYPIRG's report earlier this week highlighting the fact that New York really was the pay-to-play capital of the nation, with 170 donors alone contributing $28 million to political campaigns. Among these are billionaires, like Ken Langone, Len Blavatnik, and Ronald Perelman, who will see handsome rewards from the tax cuts--looks like their capital investments in our democracy are paying off big returns for them.
Folks who have enough money to buy private jets - The Senate introduced in its one-house budget resolution an exemption to the sales tax for the purchase of private jets--we'll see if Governor Cuomo can resist an opportunity to subsidize the lifestyle of the 1%.
New York - New York is the big loser of the budget. Our entire state--including the 1%--cannot go on as the state with the worst inequality in the nation. It economically marginalizes entire swaths of the population, concentrates wealth and political power in the hands of a few, reduces opportunity and social mobility for our children, and imperils the American Dream. But this year's budget takes no heed--with over two billion dollars in tax cuts to help Wall Street banks, wealthy estates, hedge-fund managers and wealthy backers of charter schools--our schools, firefighters, colleges, and families will all suffer and only widen the inequality gap.
There have been real faces to these "losers" -- town board members, farmers, teachers, children, college students, and working families. They want more aid for schools and local governments, more human services programs, fewer tax cuts for the rich, and no more starving children upstate.
But as it stands, everyone in the state of New York will lose if this budget succeeds.