NYC mayoral candidate hints at supporting higher taxes on state's wealthy

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Sources tell FOX Business’ Charlie Gasparino that major banks are looking at job relocations to Florida, Texas and elsewhere as they weigh the costs in the New York area.

A candidate for New York City mayor and one of the highest-ranking Black executives on Wall Street hinted this week that he supports raising taxes on the state's wealthy residents.

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Ray McGuire, who announced in mid-October that he was leaving his post as vice chairman at Citigroup to run for the Democratic nomination for mayor, appeared to indicate that he supports hiking taxes on rich New Yorkers.

"Those that can do more, should," McGuire tweeted on Monday, sharing a New York State of Politics blog post about state lawmakers moving to increase taxes on upper-income earners, possibly this month.

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A spokesperson for McGuire said in a statement to FOX Business that McGuire "believes those who have done well should contribute more – and how we do that needs to be evaluated in the larger budget context. He believes that taxes alone won't solve the long-term budget problem; we need to grow our way out of this with an aggressive economic development strategy."

McGuire has previously argued that "folks who have the economic resources" should pay more in levies after the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the state's budget.

"Some say the way we do this is with income taxes. That’s possible, but I’ve run the numbers and we simply can’t tax our way out of this," he said recently. "We need to grow our way out of this. We need to create revenue. So those who have the resources should step up and indeed pay more.”

There are growing calls for New York to raise taxes on its wealthy residents as it faces the loss of at least $9 billion in tax revenue over the next two fiscal years, which could possibly trigger the layoffs of tens of thousands of city workers.

In a letter sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and the state's legislative leaders last week, 50 economists argued a wealth tax could be New York's "saving grace" as it grapples with a $14.5 billion pandemic-induced budget deficit.

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“More than a million New Yorkers remain unemployed,” the letter said. “Billions of dollars in budget cuts to essential services and institutions are beginning. Thousands remain ineligible for state or federal unemployment assistance. In this moment of fiscal emergency, it would be a moral and economic failure for New York’s legislature and executive to leave this money on the table.”

Although similar efforts have previously stalled in New York's Republican-controlled state Senate – Cuomo, a three-term governor, also has a long history of opposing measures that raise taxes on the wealthy – Democrats won control of both houses of the state legislature in 2018.

The governor has also indicated recently that without additional federal aid, the state will need to raise taxes to address its current deficit, although it's unclear who the tax hikes would affect.

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Under a proposal sponsored by Jessica Ramos, a state senator from Queens, the unrealized capital gains of the state's 118 billionaires would be taxed. It would raise an estimated $5.5 billion in revenue, which would go toward workers not eligible for unemployment benefits or federal relief measures. The proposal has already received the approval of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

In September, New Jersey lawmakers announced a deal to raise taxes on the state's wealthiest individuals. The state estimates the tax increase will raise about $390 million in revenue from 16,491 state residents and 19,128 non-residents.

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