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Advocates blast Hochul over billionaire sponsors as they push to raise taxes on New York’s wealthy


ALBANY — Activists who hope New York’s wealthiest residents pay more taxes accuse Gov. Hochul of pandering to wealthy and powerful donors as she negotiates a state spending plan with lawmakers.

TO new review from a coalition of groups pushing to increase social services and raise taxes on the state’s top earners comes on the heels of a report that billionaire and former mayor Michael Bloomberg chipped in $5 million for a publicity blitz supporting Hochul’s budget prioritiesincluding changing bail laws and lifting the cap on charter schools.

Review of campaign contributions The Democratic Governor published Wednesday describes how 51 billionaires and their families donated more than $2.5 million to Hochul’s gubernatorial campaign last year.

The small group of donors have a total net worth of more than $264 billion.

Democrats in both the Senate and the Assembly support the idea of ​​raising taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents, something Hochul has strongly opposed. His resistance has sparked outrage from critics who say the governor is catering to the wealthy.

“Gov. Hochul has made it very clear that he values ​​subverting democracy to keep campaign cash flowing from his billionaire donor friends,” said Alice Nascimento of New York Communities for Change, one of the groups behind the new report, dubbed “Crooked Kathy’s Dirty Donors”. ”

“During a time when New Yorkers need real community investment, Crooked Kathy is pushing proposals from her billionaire campaign supporters and undermining lawmakers and democracy to raise rents, fees and tuition for New York State” Nascimento added.

The state senate chamber in Albany.

The report calls out some of Hochul’s wealthiest backers, including James Dolan, the billionaire owner of Madison Square Garden, and Republican supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis.

Lawmakers are considering revoking MSG’s long-standing tax-exempt status amid a public battle over Dolan’s use of facial recognition technology to keep critics out of his venues.

While Bloomberg was not among Hochul’s donors last year, the former mayor has quietly spent millions in recent weeks to back ads flooding the airwaves in support of Hochul’s budget plans. The New York Times first reported.

Advocates behind the review, including the Center for Popular Democracy, LittleSis, The Hedge Clippers and New York Communities for Change, also describe the large number of charter school supporters who donated to Hochul’s campaign.

Hochul received nearly $1 million in campaign cash from pro-charter donors last year, according to the report. The governor’s budget proposal includes a plan that would increase the number of charter schools in the state.

james dolan

The measure has met with resistance from the Democratic-led Legislature, supporters of public schools and the politically powerful teachers union.

Hochul, a moderate Democrat from Buffalo, has clashed with more progressive members of her party on a number of issues so far this session, including bail reform and her recently rejected election to lead the state’s judicial system. .

The groups behind the new Hochul taxpayer report support a package of bills under the umbrella “Invest In Our New York Act.” The package includes several laws that would raise $40 billion in funds by increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

The bill proposals include a progressive corporate tax and a state capital gains tax. They also include plans to establish inheritance taxes and an annual tax on the increase in value of assets of billionaires of 8.2%.

Hochul, whose $227 billion budget plan includes an extension of a temporary corporate tax increase and a payroll tax to help fund the cash-strapped MTA, has said he has no interest in raising income taxes. of no New Yorker.

“We have to make sure that we live within our means right now,” Hochul told reporters last week. “And not do anything that would make the people who contribute to the tax base no longer here. And I’m very focused on making sure that we can continue without interrupting the high-quality services that we provide. They need to be financed.

“And making sure that the people who fund them are still important to me, too. So, I’m not going to raise taxes,” she added.

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