NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There’s a growing call to tax billionaires in New York State.
A group of demonstrators marched alongside city and state lawmakers to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office in Midtown on Friday.READ MORE: House Votes To Hold Steve Bannon In Contempt
The protesters gathered at Madison Square Park then marched through the streets, demanding Cuomo tax the richest New Yorkers, CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reported.
“He makes excuses as if 118 billionaires don’t live in New York. They live in New York, they don’t live in D.C. There’s no excuse to why we should not be making billionaires pay and funding excluded workers,” said Angeles Solis from Make the Road New York.
The group consisted of undocumented immigrants, unemployed blue-collar workers and lawmakers who said it’s time for a change.
The demonstrators said they marched to Cuomo’s office because he’s not doing enough.
“He’s turned his back on our community. He’s turned his back on almost 600,000 New Yorkers who are four months behind on rent, can’t pay for diapers, can’t pay for food and are scared, are scared of what comes next,” said Solis.
The governor has said a tax on billionaires should come from Congress, otherwise the richest would just leave the state.
But, even some in Washington believe the decision should be made at the state level.READ MORE: NYPD: 85-Year-Old Man Attacked, Robbed Outside Bronx Home
New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in on Twitter:
Did you know that there are 118 billionaires… in New York alone?
And that they’ve made billions more during COVID?
Did you know that the very workers billionaires rely on are going hungry & without healthcare?
This is wrong. If Trump cut their taxes, NY should pick them up. https://t.co/x5swN3cH43
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 16, 2020
“Just have a heart. Think of the children. Your kids are safe, your kids can open their refrigerator, take out a glass of milk. Some of our kids can’t do that,” said Winsome Pendergrass.
With budget shortfalls and economic hardships, in part due to the coronavirus, the group has backing from several state lawmakers who say billionaires benefited the most during the pandemic.
“Just a little bit of their wealth can sustain all of us,” said State Senator Julia Salazar.
The lawmakers are pushing a bill in Albany that would tax billionaires in order to create a bailout fund for workers who do not qualify for federal unemployment benefits.
“Every time Wall Street crashes, we step up and bail them out. Now, the shoe’s on the other foot. It’s time for them to bail out the working class,” said State Senator Jessica Ramos.
Ramos said the proposed fund would provide financial assistance to more than 1-million New Yorkers excluded from federal aid.
“Yesterday… I sleep in the street, and it hurt. I feel really, really bad for the people who live everyday like that,” said Silvia Garcia, an undocumented immigrant who’s lived on Long Island for more than two decades.MORE NEWS: NYPD: 4 Shot In Front Of Brooklyn Deli
The legislation, if passed, would help the state raise an estimated $5.5 billion.