Legislators lobbying for wealth tax at Department of Education

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Some Capital Region legislators and school leaders want to implement tax increases on the wealthy to offset widespread 20% cuts from state funding to school budgets.

At noon, Assemblymembers Patricia Fahy and John McDonald are appearing alongside Watervliet City Schools Superintendent Dr. Lori Caplan and Niskayuna School District Superintendent Dr. Cosimo Tangorra Jr. At the state Department of Education headquarters on Washington Avenue in Albany—close to the Hawk Street side—they’re calling on the state to raise taxes on ultra-wealthy New Yorkers.

They say this new revenue source should be diverted to support high-need school districts.

Some have argues that across-the-board cuts to school budgets represent institutional racism, as more affluent districts are better able to absorb shortfalls than low-income districts, which are disproportionately attended by nonwhite students. Fahy, McDonald—Democrats representing Albany, Troy, Cohoes, and Rensselaer in the state’s 108th and 109th districts—and the superintendents—legislative co-chairs of Capital Region BOCES—are calling for “fair treatment” of such high-need schools.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled early in the pandemic that gaps in the state budget would be filled in by reallocating funds from health care and education. He also has argued against raising taxes on wealthy individuals, echoing a conservative position that high-income earners would prefer to leave the state altogether than to help support underserved communities. However, during Tuesday’s press conference, Cuomo put pressure on the Trump administration to increase the marginal tax rate in the upper brackets federally.

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