Green Party: New York should stop giving Stock Transfer Taxes back to Wall Street

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- It makes sense- the state is facing a $13 billion revenue loss while billions of dollars are being given back to Wall Street from New York’s Stock Trading Tax. The state would be able to prevent an estimated 20% in budget cuts to essential services like education by keeping those tax dollars, says Green Party Co-chair, Peter Lavenia.

New York’s Green Party wants the state Senate to eliminate the Stock Transfer Taxes provision that allows those tax dollars to be given back to Wall Street. Lavenia says this was the case prior to 1981 when the tax law was changed.

With looming cuts brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Lavenia says revising the Stock Transfer Tax would be an easy way for the state to get the revenue needed to prevent residents from suffering from cuts to social services.

Lavenia, who has a Ph.D. from the University at Albany in Political Science, says the devastating effects on New York’s economy and budget call for brave action from Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislators. It’s similar to what unions called for on Wednesday when they asked for New York to tax the state’s wealthiest residents.

But, Lavenia says the Green Party’s proposal would affect earners in the top 1% who trade stock and doesn’t target the state’s top earners but rather large investors. He also says it would be the equivalent of $.01 per transaction. It negates the idea that the state’s wealthy, along with businesses and corporations, would be driven from New York by a decision to direct this money where it’s needed- to the state, local governments, healthcare, and education.

In April 2003, Robert Pollin and James Heintz from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst published a research paper exploring the effects of reinstating the Stock Transfer Tax. They concluded that it was a good way for the state to supplement its budget and that it wasn’t likely to mean loss of jobs.

Overall, we conclude that reinstating the STT (Stock Transfer Tax) at half the rate that prevailed in the early 1980s can play a substantial positive role in as a means of addressing the current fiscal crisis in both the City and State of New York. We do also recognize that negative consequences might emerge from reintroducing the STT. But in our assessment, the increase in overall trading costs that the STT would impose will be relatively modest, raising average transaction costs to a level that would still be below those which prevailed as recently as the late 1990s. As such, we conclude from the evidence that these negative effects associated with the STT are likely to be correspondingly modest—that there will likely be no large-scale job losses resulting from the STT; that firms now trading on the NYSE are not likely to switch to alternative platforms, nor will the Exchange itself relocate to New Jersey; and that the market distortions generated by the STT will be manageable.

“Evaluation of a Proposal to Reinstate
the New York Stock Transfer Tax”
Robert Pollin & James Heintz

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