Good riddance to ‘moving millionaires’
There is now a whole new reason for the government not doing something that needs to be done: people might leave. Governor Andrew Cuomo has suggested that we don’t need a millionaire’s tax in New York. At the same time, he has endorsed President Obama’s call for a similar tax on the national level. His reasoning for this seeming inconsistency is that if we have a millionaire’s tax in New York, those who might have to pay it will move to Connecticut or — God forbid, as Governor Paterson used to say — New Jersey. I work in New York but live in western Massachusetts so I have to pay New York state taxes. I presume that the same thing would happen to all those rich folks who have come to be known as “The Street.” I say call their bluff and see who goes.
Cuomo says he will not be swayed by polls which show that New Yorkers overwhelmingly favor a millionaire’s tax. He says that his father didn’t run the state based on polling and he won’t either. He likens his stand against the millionaire’s tax to Mario Cuomo’s opposition to the death penalty. He may believe that there will be a serious flight over the George Washington Bridge by the state’s wealthiest citizens but you have to remember who you are dealing with. With easy access to the theater and to Wall Street from their huge Park Avenue apartments, some of these folks are not going to be inconvenienced. To those who do move, I say “Good riddance.” No governmental entity should ever submit to blackmail and a tough guy like Cuomo should not use that rationale. He didn’t submit to pressure from the labor unions and they do real work in contrast to some of the parasites just can’t seem to get enough.
Of course, Cuomo is gearing up to run for president. Right now he is immensely popular, boasting incredible survey numbers that amount to an endorsement from the voters who have been polled. Among those who have little bad to say about Andrew are Rupert Murdoch and the folks who the Occupy Wall Street crowd are calling the “one per centers.”
The son of Mario, one of the most liberal of New York’s former governors, has struck out to the right. He is perfect for those in Democratic New York who want a conservative Democrat. They hardly care about party affiliation as long as their conservative policies are adopted. In fact, Republican office holders in New York regularly invoke the governor’s name when calling for the adoption of Republican policies.
The millionaire’s tax is just one example. The horrible plan to allow hydrofracking in the state is another. Now the hydrofracking industry is saying that if New York’s regulations on the dangerous practice are too onerous, they, too, will move and do their fracking in other states that are more hospitable. If Cuomo chickens out on the millionaire’s tax that so many people in the New York State Assembly, among others, want, why wouldn’t he invoke the same reasoning in the case of hydrofracking? We can’t be saying that our kids need better education and then telling school districts they are spending too much and must fire teachers. Surely there will be a counter argument that if New York can’t educate its kids as well as nearby states can, the parents will move to those states. What’s more, what about the argument that states that don’t have an educated work force are not attractive to companies that need smart workers?
The whole argument about moving is specious.
Originally published in the Legislative Gazette, 10/23/11