Politics

‘I’ll Buy You A Drink’: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Begs Rich New Yorkers To Return Amid Budget Shortfall

(Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

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Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was pleading for wealthy New York City residents to return to the city after an exodus following the coronavirus pandemic during a press conference Monday.

“I literally talk to people all day long who are now in their Hamptons house who also lived here, or in their Hudson Valley house, or in their Connecticut weekend house, and I say, ‘You got to come back!'” Cuomo told reporters. “‘We’ll go to dinner! I’ll buy you a drink! Come over, I’ll cook!'”

At least 420,000 of New York City’s wealthiest residents are believed to have left as the city emerged as the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, The Daily Mail reported. The city has reported 223,000 cases and nearly 19,000 confirmed deaths, according to local data.

Nationwide protests and riots over the death of George Floyd also correlated with a significant increase in violent crime. The New York Police Department reported a 130% increase in shootings, 118% increase in robberies and 30% increase in murders during the month of June.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said state tax receipts in June fell by $1.5 billion, or 17.3%, compared to last year in a financial report published in July. Consumption tax revenues dropped $1.1 billion and business tax revenues declined by $700 million compared to last year, the New York Post reported.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20: A woman wearing a mask walks the Brooklyn Bridge in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 20, 2020 in New York City. The economic situation in the city continued to decline as New York Gov Andrew Cuomo ordered all nonessential businesses to keep all their workers at home and New York weighed a shelter in place order for the entire city. (Photo by Victor J. Blue/Getty Images)

A woman wearing a mask walks the Brooklyn Bridge in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak in New York City (Victor J. Blue/Getty Images)

The state’s budget deficit is estimated to grow to around $30 billion over the next two years, according to the New York Post. Cuomo said he did not want to raise taxes for fear of disincentivizing wealthy New Yorkers from returning. (RELATED: NYC Health Commissioner Resigns Over ‘Deep Disappointment’ With Mayor De Blasio’s Handling Of The Pandemic)

“They’re not coming back right now. And you know what else they’re thinking? ‘If I stay there, I’ll pay a lower income tax,’ because they don’t pay the New York City surcharge,” he told reporters.

A sustained budget deficit could result in widespread spending cuts. Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio authorized substantial cuts after the city faced a nearly $9 billion budget deficit earlier this year, The New York Times reported.

Democratic State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said they would support raising taxes, diverging from Cuomo, the Daily News reported. State lawmakers argued that declining revenues would force cuts to health care, education and essential services spending.