Fox News reports, healthcare workers who traveled to New York, the nation’s COVID-19 epicenter to help fight the pandemic will have to pay state taxes, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.
The taxes would also affect charities like Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian aid organization that provided temporary hospital in Central Park.
“We’re not in a position to provide any subsidies right now because we have a $13 billion deficit,” Cuomo said during his daily press briefing Tuesday. “So there’s a lot of good things I’d like to do, and if we get federal funding, we can do, but it would be irresponsible for me to sit here looking at a $13 billion deficit and say I’m gonna spend more money, when I can’t even pay the essential services.”
The issue first came up April 1 when the temporary emergency hospital in Central Park was being erected by Samaritan’s Purse. The organization’s financial comptroller noticed that a New York state law requires anyone working in the state for more than 14 days to pay income tax and notified Ken Isaacs, vice president of programs and government relations.
“I said, ‘What?’” Isaacs recalled. “[The comptroller] said, ‘Yeah, there’s a law. If you work in New York state for more than 14 days, you have to pay income tax.’ I didn’t know that.”
There’s no exemption for coronavirus relief.
Faithwire reports, earlier this week, the Rev. Franklin Graham, president of the nonprofit organization, said, “They’re the ones who called us originally,” referring to officials with the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. “We didn’t call them; they called us,” he continued. “And we agreed to go and we have not charged them one penny. All of our services have been paid by God’s people.”
Cuomo said New York is in dire need of federal funding to help it cope with the crisis.
The Governor placed some of the blame for not getting those funds on Senate Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has opposed so-called blue state bailouts and recommended states file bankruptcy if their finances are in shambles.
“I don’t think the president started this fight, I think it’s the Republican senators,” Cuomo said, later calling on President Trump to “bridge the gap.”
McConnell said Senate Republicans remain open to the idea of sending more assistance to state and local governments as long as it relates to coronavirus expenses.
“We’re not interested in rescuing badly run states from the mistakes they made, completely unrelated to the coronavirus,” McConnell said.
President Trump sided with McConnell in an interview with the New York Post and said,“I don’t think the Republicans want to be in a position where they bail out states that are, that have been mismanaged over a long period of time.”
Cuomo responded and said, “This state was doing well before the virus, and I wasn’t asking for a nickel — so it has nothing to do with mismanagement.”