As the rich get richer in New York public services are meanwhile bracing themselves for “draconian” cuts. To save New York, tax Wall Street, writes The Guardian’s Sadhbh Walshe. “Life in New York is about to get very interesting. Like so many other states, New York is in the red, facing a budget deficit of $9bn dollars in the coming fiscal year. In response to that deficit our political leaders have thrown out the scalpel and are wildly swinging the axe on just about every public service you can imagine, from prenatal care to senior centres. The accepted wisdom is that there is just no money to be had so these cuts have to be. But the truth is that there are billions of dollars out there for the taking, if Governor Paterson or Mayor Bloomberg were willing to raise income tax on the richest of New Yorkers even by a tiny amount. Wall Street has just had a bumper year with the top three banks who benefited from Tarp paying themselves almost $30bn in bonuses, higher even than their previous record in 2007. It seems reasonable to expect that a small portion of this windfall would be paid back in the form of income taxes to help out the people who are suffering now largely as a result of Wall Street’s wild behaviour. But for some bizarre reason the inflated salaries of New York’s wealthiest people are off limits. Instead the best the mayor and the governor can come up with is a soda tax that disproportionately affects poor people.”
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