Remember when teachers, public sector employees, the unemployed and the poor crashed the stock market, wiped out our retirement benefits, and gave themselves billion-dollar bonuses while taking advantage of tax loopholes? Yeah, it doesn’t ring a bell for us either.
It’s budget season, and with budget cuts threatening to erode basic subsistence services for countless poor people in our city, we need to stop blaming poor people for our budget woes and start working on solutions. During the New York State budget fight, hundreds of New Yorkers fought for the Millionaire’s Tax. In response we heard arguments against raising taxes. Such a move would stifle the economy just as it is beginning to recover or it would be inefficient or it would be unfair. We also heard that if taxes increase, our millionaires would flee the city. However, there is a great deal of data that suggests otherwise, including an article in today’s New York Times online which says increased taxes on the rich could help balance the budget and could ease the pressure to slash billions from social spending. Check it out here.
As we pivot our focus from the state budget to the city budget, it’s important to stay informed, to think creatively about increasing revenue and to stop blaming the most vulnerable for our budget situation. Progressive solutions will bring the greatest prosperity.