New York is facing an economic and social crisis brought on by COVID-19. New York nonprofits have consistently shown they are crucial sources of support for communities and demonstrated their commitment to working in partnership with the state to face the current challenges. However, given recent state actions to withhold payments for nonprofit organizations, suspend the prompt contract and prompt payment laws, and threats to retroactively cut funding for work nonprofits have already done on the state’s behalf, nonprofits face an immediate financial crisis. We are forced to choose between prioritizing service and safety for our communities, paying our staff, and remaining in operation. New York faces one of the most significant financial challenges in its history. With a $13 billion deficit and Congress’s failure to pass a stimulus package that provides aid to states and localities, New York must consider all options to prevent austerity cuts that will devastate New York communities and cause lasting harm to the nonprofits that serve them. Nonprofits urge the legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, legislation to raise revenue for the state.
The state relies on nonprofits to conduct their work at a lower cost with New York nonprofits employing 18% of the private workforce, 8% higher than the national average, providing more than 1.4 million jobs and paying $80 billion in wages. Nonprofit providers are contracted to carry out the government’s statutory work, such as homeless services, child abuse prevention services, sexual and domestic violence, services and programs for people with disabilities, and nonprofits are relied upon to promote arts and culture. In FY19 New York State spent $90 billion in contracts, with an estimated 52% going to nonprofits to deliver services on behalf of the state.
Nonprofits are economic drivers, make our economy more equitable and inclusive, and employ a workforce that is majority women and people of color. Cuts to our organizations will disproportionately harm communities of color, nonprofit leaders of color, and direct support professionals of color. Nonprofits work to address and prevent the racial, socioeconomic, and gender disparities that have led to disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 and are harmful for New York’s economy. We are confident our sector will rise to the challenge of advancing an inclusive economic recovery. But we cannot continue without the resources to do so, without being included in recovery actions, and without all stakeholders rising to their civic duty to contribute for the greater good during this unprecedented economic crisis.
We call on the legislature and Governor to consider implementing the following revenue generating proposals to protect all New Yorkers:
- Progressive taxation: COVID-19 has exposed the deadly realities of income inequality. To alleviate this inequality, the state should implement a wealth tax on billionaires based on unrealized capital gains as well as an income tax on ultra millionaires. New York’s population of millionaires has grown 72% in the ten years since New York imposed higher taxes on millionaires and the state has the highest concentration of billionaires, with a combined wealth greater than 300% of our entire state budget. New Yorkers making $50,000 or less are dying at disproportionate levels, while some of our wealthiest residents have profited through this crisis. We must all contribute to our state’s survival and recovery, and call on our billionaires and millionaires to support those in dire need, who are unemployed, and have been left out of recovery efforts. We believe there will be no appreciable impact on those being temporarily taxed while the benefits to our most vulnerable will be significant. We also encourage the state to review CEO pay differential taxes to both raise revenue and disincentivize extreme income inequality.
- Pied à Terre tax, preferred equity tax, and 421-a reforms: We support additional graduated property tax on non-primary residences within New York City with a market value of $5 million or more; amending the tax law to treat "mezzanine debt" — a broad term describing debt instruments that are not secured against a property and do not offer equity to investors — used to finance real estate purchases the same as a mortgages, subjecting it to the same taxing requirements and raising revenues in the process; and reforming public subsidies for luxury development.
- Wealth instrument revenues: The state should include proposals to repeal the 0.25% rebate for state sales tax on stock trades, a 0.5% sales tax on corporate stock buybacks, and carried interest fairness fees.
- Increase borrowing authority: The state must increase borrowing authority on a temporary basis, as the state has done in previous disasters and crises.
- Reforming aid to be more equitable: With a scarcity of revenue, the state must review and reform any state aid ,, reducing aid to wealthy areas in order to more equitably distribute resources for those communities in most need.
- Sales tax reform: The state must commit to sales tax reform that will promote behavioral economics goals such as reducing carbon emissions and promoting public health and not taxes that will create a regressive tax on low-income communities.
- Center equity in revenue options: Any revenue options adopted by the state must include resources for undocumented New Yorkers who were fully left out of federal relief, Black, indigenous, and people of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and the nonprofits led-by and serving these communities.
Signatories as of September 1, 2020
Asian American Arts Alliance
Astor Services for Children & Families
Black Trans Nation
Blessed Assurance Church of God/ Blessed Assurance Charity Inc.
Brooklyn Community Services
Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
Chinese-American Planning Council
Chocolate Factory Theater
citymeals on wheels
Coalition for Asian American Children & Families
Coalition of Medication Assisted Treatment Providers and Advocates (COMPA)
Correctional Association of New York
Divine Intervention Institute
Drug Policy Alliance
Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York
Fifth Avenue Committee
Fiscal Policy Institute
Friends of Marcy Houses
Garden of Hope
Gender Equality New York, Inc.
Global Crisis Interventions
Girl Be Heard
Girls for Gender Equity
Goddard Riverside Senior Center
Greater Bethel Community Development Corporation
Groundwork Hudson Valley
Horizon Health Services
Human Services Council
Incline Pension Consulting
Jazz Foundation of America
Jewish Community Center of Staten Island, Inc.
José Limón Dance Foundation
The Korean American Family Service Center
Lets Kick ASS NY (AIDS Survivor Syndrome)
The LGBT Center
Literacy Assistance Center
Literacy New York
Literacy of Northern New York, Inc.
Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County
Local Progress New York
Long Island Arts Alliance
Long Island Center for Independent Living, Inc.
Long Island Crisis Center
Lower Eastside Service Center
Make the Road New York
Manhattan Graphics Center
Mercy Center Ministries, Inc.
Midwood Neighborhood Senior Center
Mothers & Babies Perinatal Network of SCNY, Inc.
National Black Womens HIV/AIDS Network
New Destiny Housing Corp.
New York City Anti-Violence Project
New Yorkers for Culture & Arts
NYC Employment and Training Coalition
Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson
Nonprofit Finance Fund
Nonprofit New York
One To World
PFY - Formerly Pride for Youth
Physicians for a National Health Program - NY Metro
Princess Janae Place, Inc.
Sakhi for South Asian Women
Seven Loaves DBA GOH Productions
Southern Tier AIDS Program
Southern Tier Independence Center
St. Francis Friends of the Poor
Staten Island Center for Independent Living
Staten Island Not for Profit Association
Stonewall Community Development Corporation
Strong Economy For All Coalition
Supportive Housing Network of New York
Taconic Resources for Independence, Inc.
Teens for Food Justice
United Neighborhood Houses
United Way of New York City
Urban Justice Center
Violence Intervention Program
Youth Action YouthBuild East Harlem
Have questions? Contact our Policy Director, Chai Jindasurat at [email protected]