- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 6, 2020

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pleading with rich New Yorkers to return to their homes in Manhattan after many of them fled the city amid the ongoing pandemic and a massive spike in violent crime.

Speaking at a press conference Monday, Mr. Cuomo broke with Democratic state lawmakers who want to raise taxes on the wealthy to help offset the state’s $30 billion coronavirus-related deficit.

“Raise a millionaires’ tax? In this economic environment in New York City?” the Democratic governor asked one reporter. “We used to be worried with a millionaires’ tax that people might leave. No, no, no, the burden shifted. We’re trying to get people to come back.

“COVID’s under control,” he assured residents. “We’re going to make progress helping the homeless, we’re going to clean up the graffiti, we’re going to fix crime. On top of that, you wanna say, ‘And by the way, when you come back you’re going to get a big tax increase?’

“Our population, 1 percent of the population pays 50 percent of the taxes and they’re the most mobile people on the globe,” he continued. “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! When you coming back? We’ll go to dinner! I’ll buy you a drink! Come over, I’ll cook!’”

Mr. Cuomo urged Congress members to include more financial aid for his state in the final stimulus bill that is expected to pass through the U.S. Senate soon.

“They have to deliver,” he said.

The plea comes amid fears that many of the New York City residents who fled to their second homes in the suburbs might never return.

Median home prices in Manhattan have dropped significantly — a 17.7 percent decrease in the second quarter — while houses in the coveted Hamptons jumped 27.1 percent, The New York Times reported. Variety reported Tuesday that Jennifer Lawrence, one of the highest-paid actresses in the world, had sold her sprawling New York City penthouse at a $5.7 million loss.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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