New York's $212B budget deal includes mobile sports betting, taxing wealthiest

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers reached a new budget deal in Albany early Wednesday morning.

The governor said COVID devastated the state economy and now this Fiscal 2022 budget will provide money for rebuilding New York. It also will legalize mobile sports betting and raise taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers.

"It does a lot to not only fill in the gaps that have been exposed that we had to cut back on because of the pandemic but it also makes really important investments in the social safety nets," state Sen. Andrew Gounardes said.

This budget includes more than $29 billion in aid for schools, $29 billion for public and private green economy investments, and nearly $2.5 billion for rent and homeowner relief. The deal also allocates $2.4 billion for child care and $1 billion for small business recovery.

Mayor Bill de Blasio hailed lawmakers for what he called the "best state budget we've ever seen for New York City."

"They created a budget based on what the legislators were actually hearing from the grassroots," de Blasio said. "For the first time in years and years and years, justice for our public school kids, for our public school parents — finally we see fairness in funding for New York City public schools being locked into this budget."

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But some business groups are raising concerns about the tax increases on wealthy New Yorkers and corporations.

The personal income tax rate for New Yorkers making over $1 million and couples earning more than $2 million will rise from 8.82% to 9.65%. The corporate franchise tax rises from 6.5% to 7.25% for businesses making more than $5 million annually.

Manhattan Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Jessica Walker said that while she appreciates the funding for education and small businesses included in the budget, she worries the tax hikes will hurt the ailing local economy.

"We're very concerned about the tax increases," Walker said. "They could backfire and keep remote workers away, and those are the customers that small businesses are relying on to come back and shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants."

Andrew Rein of the Citizens Budget Commission also said the hikes could push some to leave.

"The budget enacts tax increases for the wealthiest New Yorkers and corporations making New York the highest taxed state in the nation, which increases the chance that New Yorkers leave and take their tax dollars with them," Rein said.

But Democrats, including the mayor, say the fears that New Yorkers will flee the state are unfounded.

"The vast majority of wealthy people — they are going to stay in New York City because they want to be in New York City, because they like the life available to them in New York City," he said, "because they can make more money in New York City than a lot of other places."

Republican state Sen. Anthony Palumbo, who represents Long Island, also opposes new taxes. He said New York is getting a windfall from the federal government and doesn't need this massive spending bill.

RELATED: New York City millionaires set to face highest tax rate in U.S.

"It's really somewhat offensive to me because I think that this is a bunch of pet projects and a bunch of different programs that have nothing to do with the pandemic nothing to do with bringing New York businesses back, " Palumbo said.