Increasing taxes on upper income earners and the wealthy in New York could hinder the state's economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday morning.
"I'm not interested in driving people out of state. I believe that we have a right balance right now, I'm not interested in pushing anybody over because those individuals high net worth individuals, allow us to have the revenue generated as well as their many philanthropic contributions, that I need to be able to support the progressive programs I want to have funded," Hochul said during a question-and-answer session at an event sponsored by City & State magazine and AARP New York.
Hochul, who took office Aug. 24, is preparing for her first budget proposal in the coming months — a spending plan that will be unveiled months before she is expected to face a competitive, multi-candidate June Democratic primary.
Hochul's comments come after state lawmakers and former Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year agreed to a budget that raised tax rates on upper income New Yorkers in order to fund an increase in school aid and other programs in the spending plan. New York has seen its coffers swell with more revenue in recent weeks and higher above the projected estimates.
Cuomo had been hesitant to raise taxes during his tenure, but tax rate changes were made during his tenure that led to more revenue in order to close projected budget gaps.
Hochul on Thrsday said she is working to entice businesses to come to New York and bring jobs, and often those conversations include questions about the state's tax climate.
"I'm attracting people to the state, literally calling CEOs who might be on the hook, I just have to reel him in," Hochul said. "They asked me about our tax structure in the state of New York, I'm not going to take any steps that are going to hinder my ability to promote New York State is a great place to bring your business or your existing business to expand, I can continue hiring more people, more robust recovery, and raising taxes right now will not accomplish that."