The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Sam Quigley

Millionaires of New York to Governor Cuomo: Raise Our Taxes

"We millionaires and multi-millionaires of New York can easily invest more in the Empire State, and lawmakers have a moral and a fiduciary duty to make sure we do so.”

Albany, NY

Yesterday, as Governor Cuomo and the New York State Assembly consider proposals to close New York State's $2.3 billion budget deficit, a group of millionaires challenged them to muster up the political courage to pass the obvious solution to the state's fiscal problems: tax the rich.

New York has more millionaires and billionaires than any other state, yet low-income and middle-class New Yorkers continue to bear a disproportionate share of the burden of funding the state government. In a letter sent to the Governor's office yesterday signed by 48 New York millionaires, they call on Gov. Cuomo to tax the rich to invest in the state's communities, specifically by expanding the state's millionaires tax to additional high-end brackets, and by closing the carried interest loophole abused by millionaire fund managers by implementing a state-level "carried interest fairness fee."

Taken together, these two proposals would raise over $5.6 billion per year. The text of the letter, as well as a full list of signers, can be found both HERE and below.

As this letter was being delivered, Morris Pearl, the Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires and former managing director of BlackRock, Inc., the world's largest asset manager, was testifying in front of a joint legislative hearing with the New York State Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committee with the same message: that New York's millionaires need to be paying more. In his testimony, he directly responded to claims from wealthy New Yorkers who threaten to move to another state if their taxes increase with the following remark:

"I will tell you as someone who knows a lot of rich people in New York, the rich people who make decisions on where to live based mainly on taxes do not live in New York, and they have not lived in New York in decades. They moved to other states like Kansas generations ago. It would be a colossal mistake for us to compromise the things that actually make rich people want to live in this state in order to appease these fictional New York millionaires who care enough about taxes to leave if we expand the millionaires tax, but not enough to leave with our taxes at their current rate. Please don't buy the empty threats of millionaires who claim they'll leave the state if you raise their tax rate."

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New York Millionaires' Letter to Governor Cuomo

Dear Governor Cuomo and Legislative Leaders,

We are a group of millionaires and multi-millionaires who want to do our part to make New York the best state in the nation for all of its citizens. To that end, we are writing today to urge you to tax us (and people like us!) and to use that revenue to make investments in our state that will help everyone.

Specifically, we hope you will support the following new tax policies that will bring both additional revenues to our state and more fairness to our tax code:

  • A new "Multi-Millionaires Tax" that would add new rates and/or new brackets for households making over $5 million, $10 million, and $100 million per year, which could raise $2-$3 billion per year or more, depending on tax rates.
  • A state-level "fairness fee" to close the egregious "carried interest" tax loophole, a gross mischaracterization of income which allows fund managers to pay half the tax rate of other working people with the same income.

To be clear, we do not support these additional taxes because of some heightened sense of altruism, but rather because of an exceptional understanding of our own self-interest.

Raising taxes on high-income New Yorkers like us in order to invest in our people and our communities is not just the right moral choice, it also happens to be in the long-term economic best interest of everyone, including millionaires like us.

Our infrastructure is crumbling. Nearly three million of our residents, many of them children, live in poverty. Our lack of investment in education from pre-k to college limits less fortunate citizens from gaining the tools they need to work their way out of poverty and robs our state of their potential talents. In recent years, homelessness in New York State has reached levels equal to those seen during the Great Depression. Many New Yorkers cannot find affordable housing, have difficulty obtaining treatment for mental illness and addiction, and cannot access the skills training they need to fully participate in the workforce.

These things don't just make life difficult for millions of New Yorkers, they adversely affect the quality of life for everyone. It's time to invest in our future both by making smart spending decisions and by demanding more fairness in our tax system.

We millionaires and multi-millionaires of New York can easily invest more in the Empire State, and lawmakers like you have a moral and a fiduciary duty to make sure we do so.

To be clear, paying higher taxes will not affect our individual standards of living one bit. Most of us will literally not notice the difference.

And please, do not be fooled by silly arguments about high net worth New Yorkers fleeing the state in the wake of higher taxes. Since implementing the current "Millionaires Tax" in 2009, the number of millionaires in New York State has risen by 63%. In 2017 alone, New York City saw a 15% increase in individuals with over $30 million in wealth.

And frankly, if a few of New York's millionaires are too myopic to understand the importance of investing in our community, Connecticut can have them.

We want to be a part of building the next great chapter in New York. Please make sure we are.


Sandra Baron

Marc Baum

Lawrence Benenson

Susan Berman

Roger Bernstein

Pierce Delahunt

Anne Delaney

Abigail Disney

Andrew Drews

Rick Feldman

Bob Fertik

Helen Freedman

Paul Gangsei

Linda Gottlieb

Nicholas Gottlieb

Michael Gottwald

Monica Graham

Cat Gund

Agnes Gund

Jeffrey Gural

Anne Hess

Idelle Howitt

Craig Kaplan

Robbie Kaplan

Kelsey Livingston

Stephanie Low

Barbara Lowenstein

Dennis Mehiel

Patricia Martone

Trudy Mason

Terry Meehan

Friedrike Merck

Paul Mersfelder

Keith Mestrich

Sally Minard

Michael Nash

Marilyn Nissenson

Sonja Noring

Morris Pearl

Barbara Pearl

Bob Pennoyer

Deborah Sale

Donna Schaper

Richard Schottenfeld

Daniel A. Simon

Daniel Solomon

Melissa Walker

Robin Willner

The Patriotic Millionaires is a group of high-net worth Americans who share a profound concern about the destabilizing level of inequality in America. Our work centers on the two things that matter most in a capitalist democracy: power and money. Our goal is to ensure that the country's political economy is structured to meet the needs of regular Americans, rather than just millionaires. We focus on three "first" principles: a highly progressive tax system, a livable minimum wage, and equal political representation for all citizens.

(202) 446-0489