NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Several hundred of New York’s largest employers have mounted a last-ditch effort to stop the state Legislature from hiking taxes on businesses and the wealthy.

The lights are on in office buildings all over New York City, but most of the workers have yet to return. And some of the city’s largest employers think they won’t return if the state goes through with its plans to enact $7 billion in new taxes, mostly on the wealthy.

“Taxing the rich may be an attractive political proposition, it is not an answer to the loss of 1 million jobs that New York has experienced during the pandemic,” Kathryn Wylde, of the Partnership for New York City, told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer on Tuesday.

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Wylde and other business leaders argue that a tax hike is unnecessary because the state is getting over $100 billion in COVID-19 aid from the feds and it is economically risky, adding businesses will flee to places with lower tax rates and that the state will never see the new tax revenue.

“There is no way that the tax increases will collect the $7 billion that they are projecting, because people will simply not be here,” Wylde said.

The $7 billion includes hikes on income, capital gains, estate and corporate taxes. That, together with the new federal tax hikes President Joe Biden is seeking, is expected to make New York the highest-taxed state in the nation.

Lawmakers feel their tax plan is fair.

“Here’s some of the richest people on Earth pleading not to be asked to contribute a little bit more in a historic economic calamity to help us recover. It’s obnoxious,” Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris said.

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Lawmakers have been under tremendous pressure by progressives to tax the rich, and the progressives think $7 billion is just a drop in the bucket.

A key priority for lawmakers is to allocate over $2 billion to help New Yorkers pay back rent.

“That means they would get to pay their rent. It also means that landlords would be made whole. They can continue paying their mortgages and utilities,” Gianaris said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken a cautious approach to the new taxes, saying recently that how you raise revenue can cost you revenue, but his ability to head off new taxes may be limited by his political problems.

Marcia Kramer