Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during his daily news conference amid the coronavirus outbreak on March 20, 2020. (Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Governor Cuomo: Avoid Budget Cuts by Not Rebating Stock Sales Tax to Wall Street

"This stock transfer sales tax, bringing in an estimated 13 to 16 billion dollars a year, would reduce forthcoming budget cuts in health, education, transportation, and other safety nets."

Ralph Nader

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is basking in the popularity of his meticulous Covid-19 news briefings and simultaneously predicting a pandemic-driven $61 billion state deficit over four years. Astonishingly, the Governor electronically rebates an existing tiny stock transfer sales tax back to Wall Street. This stock transfer sales tax, bringing in an estimated 13 to 16 billion dollars a year, would reduce forthcoming budget cuts in health, education, transportation, and other safety nets.

No Governor in the country has the luxury of simply keeping very significant tax revenues that are already collected to avoid cutting necessities of life. Yet Governor Cuomo has supported these rebates for the past ten years, as have previous New York state Governors all the way back to 1981 when this early 20th-century tax stopped being retained in the state’s treasury. As much as a staggering $250 billion dollars has been immediately returned to the stockbrokers over that time period.

Bear in mind, a fraction of one percent of this tiny sales tax is paid by the investors buying stocks, bonds, and engaging in massive volumes of derivative speculation. Since the great bulk of trading is conducted by upper-income people and large companies, this sales tax, unlike the regressive 8 percent sales tax ordinary New Yorkers pay when they buy from stores, is progressive in its impact.

So why hasn’t the media taken this eminently timely and newsworthy story to the people? I’ve been explaining this surrender to Wall Street for years. Most recently, given its timeliness, calling up reporters and columnists of major press outlets, but to no avail; with the exception of the Buffalo News. This indifference is inexplicable. After all, Governor Cuomo regularly talks about drastic budget cuts.

Well, a new factor may change this equation. Blair Horner, a longtime, prominent director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), an influential university college student-funded civic advocacy group is now on the case.

On May 28, 2020, Mr. Horner held a virtual news conference in Albany, presented a letter signed by over fifty labor, consumer, women’s, educational, minority, health, taxpayer, elderly, and justice organizations – all calling on the Governor to keep the many billions of dollars from the stock transfer tax. The number of New York groups supporting this proposal will only grow. Attentively advanced by the seasoned Horner and his team, a detailed news release was distributed and several speakers, including me, briefly spoke. At question time, only a Newsday reporter asked about Wall Street’s reaction.

A half-hour later, no reporter asked Governor Cuomo during his long daily briefings about keeping the collected revenues. The next day there was no media coverage of this event and the benefits the revenue could have for communities whose members will be bearing the brunt of avoidable service cuts and job losses.

Everyday New York state rebates about $40 million to an upper-economic class, already further enriched by Trump’s 2017 tax bonanza. Nor have these privileged plutocrats shared, via a wealth tax, a fraction of the sacrifice of New York’s 2.2 million front-line Covid-19 workers. Shameful!

Bills mandating the retention of this stock sales tax are already in the state legislature. A prime sponsor, Assemblyman Phil Steck believes that there will be overwhelming left/right support in the polls.

However, the legislature’s leaders await the signal from a thus far reluctant Governor Cuomo. But not, I suspect for long.

With Wall Street’s Robert Rubin and Michael Bloomberg coming out for a financial transaction tax (thanks probably to the Bernie Sanders movement), can the son of Mario Cuomo be much far behind?

See the Coalition release, letter to Governor Cuomo, and the New York State Assembly and Senate bills to stop the rebate of the stock transfer tax at https://nader.org/ny-stock-tax/


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate and the author of "The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future" (2012). His new book is, "Wrecking America: How Trump’s Lies and Lawbreaking Betray All(2020, co-authored with Mark Green).

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Buddhist Monk and Peace Activist Thích Nhất Hạnh Dead at 95

"He inspired so many good people to dedicate themselves to working for a more just and compassionate world."

Jessica Corbett ·


Draft Order Shows Trump Considered Using Military to Seize Voting Machines

"This was part of the records that Trump was fighting to keep from the January 6th committee," one government watchdog noted.

Brett Wilkins ·


Groups Warn US Lawmakers Against Fueling 'New Cold War' With China

A policy of hostility toward Beijing, says a global justice advocate, has "become a convenient excuse for pushing a corporate, militarist agenda."

Jessica Corbett ·


Democracy 'On the Line' Says Bowman After Protest Arrest

"I will not stand by and I will not stay quiet while the fate of our democracy continues to hang loosely by a thread that the Senate is hellbent on tearing apart."

Julia Conley ·


To 'Hold Her Accountable for What She Did,' Primary Sinema Project Gets Into Gear

"Kyrsten Sinema is unfit to be a United States senator," the project asserts. "Just like the filibuster itself, we need to get rid of her if we want to save our democracy before it's too late."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo