Letter to Governor Cuomo, May 1, 2020

May 1, 2020
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of New York State

NYS State Capitol Building

Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo,

The major revenue source described below is one that you have been familiar with during your tenure as Governor but have avoided due to over-reaching corporate resistance.

Now, given your precise predictions of state budget deficits and forthcoming dire cuts in human services, you should not find the collection and rebate of about $13 billion yearly from the state’s indirect stock transfer tax so easy to dismiss.

Your lucid and methodical daily Covid-19 briefings have raised your public approval to over 70%. Expectations too have been raised for you to close the budget deficit gap to diminish plunging the public into major reductions in education, Medicaid and other necessary public services.

You have opposed thus far raising taxes on the very wealthy, who are enjoying the windfalls of Trump’s large tax cut for them and his family since 2017. Some might rise-up and move to Florida you have implied.

However, what could be the effect of a tiny fraction of one percent sales tax on huge volumes of stock, bond and options trading and speculation? The traders would hardly feel it as they pass it on. Remember the top ten percent own 84% of all stocks. New Yorkers pay over 7% sales tax for the necessities and wants of their livelihoods. People will draw comparative conclusions here about Wall Street greed.

With hundreds of thousands of essential workers risking their safety and health daily, who you have repeatedly honored, how can you allow zero sacrifice on these higher income traders comfortably making money from money?

From 1905 to 1981, New York state collected and kept the revenues from this stock transfer tax. In 1981 the state agreed to rebate electronically those revenues. Since then, the state’s strange arrangement has cost New York state hundreds of billions of dollars.

Democrats in the state senate and assembly introduced in May 2019 SB6203 and A7791A to repeal this stock transfer tax, collect 100% of this tax and dedicate the funds to specific public services such as the MTA, other transportation infrastructure, safe water infrastructure, the clean energy fund and other public necessities.
(See attached copy of “New York State Assembly Memorandum in Support of Legislation”)

The chief sponsors are Senator James Sanders and Assemblyman Phil Steck.

You properly have made criticisms of presidential neglect and Senatorial callousness (Senator Mitch McConnell) for their harmful effects on virus afflicted people and families. Public revulsion over the tax rebate, once it is more widely known, may well draw similar judgments on the state level, if this bill is not passed and signed into law rapidly.

Thank you.


Ralph Nader
P.O. Box 19312

Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202-658-9443
Enclosed: 2010 Stock Tax Letter & New York State Assembly Memorandum

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