AOC’s Democratic socialists call NYC voters to back tax hikes on rich
The New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America is calling 225,000 registered voters in the Big Apple as part of its tax-the-rich lobbying campaign.
The Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) championed group is calling voters to pressure Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers to approve up to $50 billion in tax hikes on the wealthy to avoid deep service cuts to schools and the needy to close massive projected COVID-19 related deficits.
The phone-banking operation is the most extensive ever undertaken by the city chapter of DSA — whose clout has increased in New York politics following the elections of AOC, a DSA member who has embraced higher taxes on the wealthy, as well as six DSA-backed candidates who won state legislative seats this year.
The proposals the DSA and other lefty activists back include: additional tax increases on those earning above $1 million a year; making billionaires pay income tax on their investment gains; a pied-a-terre tax on non-primary residences worth more than $5 million, and stock transfer and buyback taxes
Last month, DSA slammed liberal Manhattan state Sen. Liz Krueger, chair of the finance committee, for not immediately jumping on the tax the rich campaign.
“We have over 1,700 shifts for door hangers and phone banking this week,” said Chi Anunwa, NYC-DSA’s co-chair of the tax the rich campaign.
“Last night alone we dialed over 10,000 numbers and spoke to hundreds of people… We have a goal of making roughly 225,000 calls,” she said.
Volunteers making the calls to voters are urging them to call their state lawmakers to back the effort.
A caller to a voter in central Queens Monday night criticized Cuomo for discussing cuts in social service spending. The caller did not immediately identify as from DSA-NYC but the affiliation showed up on the voter’s caller ID.
Anunwa said DSA-NYC’s “week of action” campaign is being coordinated with its upstate chapters and other like-minded organizations.
DSA’s growing influence in New York coincides with a leftward shift in Albany.
Just two years ago, Republican still held tenuous control of the state Senate.
Now, Democrats have super majorities — and potential veto proof majorities in both the Senate and Assembly. That could strengthen progressive lawmakers’ leverage in budget negotiations with fellow Democrat Cuomo.
Cuomo is still holding out for a federal coronavirus aid package that would lessen the need for severe state budget cuts or tax hikes. He has resisted tax hikes, fearing wealthy New Yorkers will flee the state — but hasn’t ruled them out and say they may be necessary along with budget cuts..
One of the newly elected DSA-backed lawmakers, Central Brooklyn Assemblywoman-elect Phara Souffrant, said in a column in the DSA newsletter, “While the path forward is clear to people like us, our leaders in Albany have refused to do anything about our dire situation. They want to wait quietly for the federal government to send aid. But even if such aid were to appear, it wouldn’t even scratch the surface of the problems we face. We need bold, far-reaching proposals if we are to emerge from this crisis.
“This fight won’t be easy. The Democratic establishment in Albany will employ every dirty trick in the book to try to stop us. But this campaign isn’t some wish list we’ll abandon at the first sight of resistance. We are making this our top priority starting Jan. 1.
“We have already begun organizing with allies and future colleagues around these ideas, and the people of New York are overwhelmingly on our side. In fact, 90 percent of New York State’s registered voters prefer taxing the rich to cutting public services,” Souffrant said.