ALBANY — Advocates for the needy on Tuesday proposed a “recapture tax” in which the state would keep some of the federal tax breaks headed to corporations.
The advocates said the recapture tax could help make up for expected federal cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other programs proposed for later this year that would worsen the plight of the working poor in New York. Congressional leaders and President Donald Trump said they would consider cutting the entitlement programs in part to reduce costs and help pay for the corporate tax cut adopted in December.
The 29th annual “people’s state of the state address” was held Tuesday in 14-degree-temperatures outside the Capitol. Advocates sought to present issues such as the need to increase funding to overburdened food pantries, the need for a higher minimum wage and the need to bolster health care following the federal tax law that will allow people to opt out of Obamacare without paying a penalty.
“There is a storm on the horizon,” said Angela Warner, director of the Food Pantry and Social Justice Ministries in Albany.
The legislative session opens Wednesday with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s State of the State address.
“Corporations are going to see a huge windfall,” said Ron Deutsch, executive director of the labor-backed Fiscal Policy Institute. “Corporations have been sitting on a mountain of cash.”
The recapture tax proposal is still being detailed and will be proposed to the Legislature this session, which begins Wednesday, advocates said. The appeal of the new idea is that it comes as the state needs revenue. The state is facing a $4.5 billion deficit in addition to the threat of losing billions of dollars in federal aid.
Cuomo had no immediate comment on the recapture tax. The Senate’s Republican majority is opposed to any new taxes, said GOP spokesman Scott Reif.
“Clearly we will be addressing the negative impacts of the federal tax changes on New York’s families and we will be discussing a range of options with our members,” said Michael Whyland, spokesman for the Assembly’s Democratic majority. Whyland said the conference would need to see the recapture tax proposal before it could comment.
The advocates for the poor on Tuesday warned that lines at food banks were growing along with the ranks of the homeless.
“Amidst unprecedented attacks on the poor and working class, it is imperative that New York State leadership takes on the task of ending poverty in our state,” said Joe Paparone, lead organizer of the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State.