The importance of addressing the deficit is related to the need to increase revenue, which is not lost for the state’s most important senator.
“New York hurts and we need federal help, but we also need to take action to get New York on a strong path. That includes generating revenue while helping small businesses and millions of those who suffer,” he told Mike Murphy, Speaker of the Senate Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers.
Here are five bills to see in Albany that can set your budget as well as the direction of revenue and tax collection.
MILLIONAIRES TAX: SENATE INVOICE 7677
The Bill on Taxes and Economic Justice for Millionaires, proposed by Senator James Sanders Jr., a Queens Democrat, would provide the tax hike for the rich that Albany Democrats have been trying to pass for years.
Gianaris said the Senate currently has a revenue group sifting through the details of closing the budget gap and said any serious attempt to manage the crisis will require billions in federal aid or revenue-raising measures like tax hikes for the rich.
“Cutting back on services that people rely on hurts our recovery more than increasing taxes on the rich,” he said.
The bill proposes increasing tax rates for those who earn more than $ 1 million a year. For incomes between $ 1 million and $ 5 million, the tax rate would change from 5.85% or 8.82% to 9.62%. For incomes between $ 5 million and $ 10 million, the tax rate would increase from 8.82% to 10.32%. For an income greater than $ 10 million, the rate would change from 8.82% to 11.32%.
A millionaire tax hike is popular with New York City lawmakers, but there are questions about how the hikes will be sustained by Democrats in Long Island and the Hudson Valley.
“Some of its members are not as enthusiastic about new taxes as their New York members,” said political observer John DeSio.
Ultimately, Governor Andrew Cuomo would have to sign the bill, and he has opposed such action.
BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE: SENATE BILL 8211
Another bill that Albany could support is a law to reform business interruption insurance. Brooklyn Rep. Robert Carroll supports a bill that invalidates insurance clauses that prevent companies from filing claims for an outsourcing of the pandemic. Brooklyn Senator Andrew Gounardes has a potential Senate bill that removes virus exclusion clauses.
The bill is popular in the small business community. Many mom and pop stores believe it is necessary in order to survive.
“Business interruption insurance is the only problem that actually matters to saving businesses,” said Robert Schwartz, owner of Eneslow, which sells shoes and orthotics. “The civil service closed us on March 19th and we’re being squeezed. The federal government didn’t tell you there was some money here to keep you going.” We went from 100 to zero. “
Schwartz said companies lost too much time and revenue to keep up with their fixed costs.
The New York City Hospitality Alliance supports the legislation.
“Getting business interruption insurance would help pay the rent,” said Andrew Rigie, head of Allianz. “Business interruption insurance and rent relief can help save countless restaurants, bars and nightclubs across the city.”
RENT RELIEF: SENATE BILL 8125A
One bill that is sure to be controversial is the 90-day suspension of rental payments for residential and commercial tenants affected by Covid-19. It was proposed by Gianaris at the height of the spring pandemic.
Last week Gianaris wrote a letter to President-elect Joe Biden asking for federal support for a financial relief plan for tenants and businesses. Gianaris proposes to suspend all rental payments for small businesses affected by Covid-19 and to suspend certain mortgage payments from landlords of these tenants for 90 days from the date the law is passed.
“We need robust and targeted relief for residential and commercial rents, ideally in the form of rent cancellation and forgiveness,” wrote Gianaris.
The Hospitality Alliance said restaurants will not be able to repay rent deferred for several months or even rent before the pandemic because they have worked at 50% or less capacity for too long.
“We have to talk about leasing, not about deferrals,” said Rigie. Property owners and members of the real estate industry oppose such a measure.
“Senator Gianaris has no contact with reality,” said Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 landlords. Strasburg argued that Gianaris’ move would disappoint landlords and spark a real estate crisis.
The RSA said it would like the state Department of Housing and Community Renewal to redistribute any remaining funds under the Rent Relief program while expanding access.
His proposal was approved by the New York Real Estate Board, which endorsed a bill sponsored by Manhattan Senator Brian Kavanagh that provides a tax credit for landlords who reduce or give out rent for their business tenants.
“This is a voluntary program, so we want to ensure that it is designed to encourage renters and owners to use it,” said Reggie Thomas, senior vice president of government affairs at REBNY.
SPORTS BETTING: SENATE BILL 17D
An alternative way to generate revenue could be through unorthodox legislation that Albany has long ignored, namely legalizing sports betting.
Senator Joe Addabbo Jr., who sponsored the bill, estimates the revenue from legalizing professional sports gambling at $ 1 billion a year.
Addabbo’s bill would introduce an 8.5% tax on gross sports betting revenues and require a license fee of $ 12 million for each agent or company allowed to conduct mobile betting.
One issue in the legislature, according to Rep. Robert Carroll, is the “integrity of the game” clause, which would give the NBA, NFL and other major American sports leagues a taste of the action.
“We would only give money to billionaire sports leagues because God knows what,” said Carroll. “It’s a handout for sports leagues and it’s insane.”
Cuomo was not a fan of legalizing online gambling.
LEGAL RECOVERY POT: SENATE BILL 1527C
Massachusetts legalized recreational marijuana, and New Jersey voters approved the idea this month. The governor’s office expects that legalizing the pot will generate tax revenues of $ 300 million.
Senator Liz Krueger’s marijuana bill would impose an 18% excise tax on the regulated sale of cannabis in the state and create an income fund.
“Allowing adult personal use with adequate regulation and taxation, as well as reinvestment in communities disproportionately affected by the drug war, is the kind of smart, responsible, fact-based drug policy we desperately need,” said Krueger.
Their bill would also repeal certain criminal provisions related to the sale of the drug and seek to create a state fund for drug treatment and public education.