Public Comments




Sign-On Letter Urging NYS to Keep Proceeds from the Stock Transfer Tax to Help Maintain Funding for State Services

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May 28, 2020

Dear Messrs. Cuomo, Heastie, Flanagan, Barclay, and Ms. Stewart-Cousins:

As New York struggles to deal with the impact of the COVID pandemic, it’s clear that essential workers play a critical role in keeping our state safe and moving towards recovery. While the majority of New Yorkers remain at home, there are 2.2 million New Yorkers working tirelessly to provide healthcare, food, public transit service, and deliveries to the rest of the state’s population. The vast majority of these essential workers are not wealthy and often depend on government programs, most notably relying on New York State’s public schools, healthcare system, and other vital public services. In New York City, 55% of essential workers depend on the MTA transit service to travel to work.

Protecting New York’s essential workers will be vital to the state’s recovery, yet they are disproportionately burdened by the impact of the pandemic. At a time when the risk is not being shared equally, why should those currently bearing the biggest load of keeping society together take the biggest budgetary hit? Instead of placing the burden of New York State’s economic recovery on the backs of working New Yorkers, it is only reasonable to ask those who benefit from Wall Street speculation to pay their fair share.

New York State needs billions of dollars, in fact an estimated $61 billion over the next four years, to close its yawning budget deficits. The state should generate revenues from those with the most means to help pay for essential services. New York has a century-old Wall Street sales tax on its books but does not collect it. The stock transfer tax would make an enormous difference in state revenues –but only if it is collected.

Enacted in 1905, New York State’s stock transfer tax (STT) is an excise tax levied on stock trades. The STT taxes each sale of stock worth over $20 one-quarter of one percent. While this small fee amounts to pennies on the dollar of each transaction for investors, the revenue gains for New York State would be tremendous.

The STT, if fully collected, could raise billions of dollars annually in new revenue –yet it has been fully and automatically rebated since 1981. For most investors, this is an unseen tax –it wouldn’t be felt even if it was collected. Most people who have investments are not buying and selling stocks with great frequency.Wall Street speculators, on the other hand, seek to jump in and out of investments at a rapid pace, and those would be the people who would pay the vast bulk of the tax.

There are already places with sophisticated stock markets that have a stock transfer tax in place as a revenue stream. Countries like the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Taiwan all have financial transaction taxes on the books. Hong Kong, a city considered to have the freest economy in the world, has a 0.1% tax on financial transactions with no significant impact on its economy aside from a lack of high-frequency trading.

As you grapple with the state’s widening budget gap, the stock transfer tax should be collected and put to use. We ask that you remember that there is a tax that is already on the books and ready to be collected. A tax that asks for a contribution from those who benefit most in society and are affected least by the state’s financial shortfalls andhealth threats. It’s time to repeal the rebate and revive the stock transfer tax.


Michael Barrett, Executive Director, Adirondack Mountain Club
Jessica Azulay, Executive Director, Alliance for a Green Economy
Rebecca Casstevens, Sole Proprietor,  Bean Counters Unlimited
Justin Green, Executive Director, Big Reuse
Dr. Allison Wilson, Bioscience Resource Project
Joseph G. Rappaport, Executive Director, Brooklyn Center for the Independence of the Disabled
Ben Fuller-Googins, Program and Planning Director, Carroll Gardens Association
Henry Garrido, Executive Director, District Council 37
Susan Dooha, Executive Director, Center for the Independence of the Disabled, NY
Ralph Nader, Founder, Center for the Study of Responsive Law
Maura Stephens, Cofounder, Coalition to Protect New York
Mary Smith, Communications Director, Church Women United in New York State
Stanley Fritz, New York State Political Director, Citizen Action of New York
Barbara Warren, RN, MS, Executive Director, Citizens’ Environmental Coalition
Judith Canepa, Coordinator, Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline
Joseph Wilson, Co-Coordinator, Coalition for Outreach, Policy, & Education (COPE)
Jeffrey N. Maclin, Vice President, Community Service Society
Timothy Hunter, Chairperson, CUNY University Student Senate
Jamell Henderson, Alliance Coordinator, CUNY Rising Alliance
Anne Rhodes, Facilitator, Dryden Solutions
Ken Gale, Producer, Founder, Eco-Logic
Kristin Brown, CEO, Empire Justice Center
Charley Bowman, Chair, Environmental Justice Task Force
John Richard, Director, Essential Information
Susan Soboroff , M.D., Finger Lakes for New York Health
Ron Deutsch, Executive Director, Fiscal Policy Institute
Alex Beauchamp, Northeast Region Director Food & Water Watch
Dr. Kathryn Russell, Fossil Free Tompkins
Margaret Sikora, Sister Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement
Yvonne Taylor Vice President Gas Free Seneca
Mark Dunlea, Chairperson, Green Education and Legal Fund (GELF)
Peter LaVenia, Co-Chair, Green Party of New York
Brian Caldwell,  Owner, Hemlock Grove Farm
Lisa Tyson, Director, Long Island Progressive Coalition
Deborah Axt, Co-Executive Director, Make the Road New York
Andy Morrison, Campaigns Director, New Economy Project
Judith K. Canepa, Co-Founder, New York Climate Action Group
Jonathan Westin, Executive Director, New York Communities for Change
Joel Kupferman, New York Environmental Law & Justice Project
Blair Horner, Executive Director, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG)
Liam Smith, Co-Director of Government Affairs, New York Youth Climate Leaders
Jonathan Bix, Executive Director, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson
Matthew Chachere, Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation
Mary D. Thorpe, Director, NYPAN of the Southern Finger Lakes
Wayne Stinson, Action Committee, Peacemakers of Schoharie County
Scott Andrew Hutchins, Housing Campaign Leader, Picture the Homeless
Nancy Romer, Administrative Team, Peoples Climate Movement-NY
Tiffany Brown, Legislative/Communications Associate, Professional Staff Congress
Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Helen Frank, Leadership Member, Rochester Area Interfaith Climate Alliance (RAICA) Youth
Joseph Campbell, President, Seneca Lake Guardian
Maria Alvarez Executive, Director, Statewide Senior Action Council
Nancy Norton, President, Stone Quarry House
Michael Kink, Executive Director, Strong Economy for All Coalition
Matthew Hauser, Member, Sunrise NYC
Andy Mager, Sales Manager, Syracuse Cultural Workers
Nick Sifuentes, Executive Director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Frederick E. Kowal, President, United University Professions
Kaleb Winters, Chair, Upper Hudson Green Party
Nada Khader, Executive Director, WESPAC

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