New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who once pled for an influx of healthcare workers to treat COVID-19, now says they have to pay up for the privilege of having worked there to treat the coronavirus.
Cuomo said out-of-state medical professionals who volunteered to help his state owe income taxes, Fox News said. That applies even if they stayed on the payroll in their home states. However, only workers who stayed in New York for more than 14 days are on the hook.
Cuomo said New York needs more federal money too.
“We’re not in a position to provide any more subsidies right now because we have a $13 billion deficit,” Cuomo said during a Tuesday press conference. “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.”
In March, Cuomo begged for healthcare workers to travel to New York to help the state’s overwhelmed system treat COVID-19 patients, Reuters said. He even made nice with President Donald Trump to get help.
He promised New York healthcare workers would return the favor to other states.
“Please come help us in New York now,” Cuomo told a briefing at the temporary hospital erected at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. “We need relief.”
Even Christian charitable organization Samaritan’s Purse is being told to open its purse to New York’s tax collectors, Faithwire reported.
Earlier this week, the Rev. Franklin Graham, president of the nonprofit organization, told Faithwire, “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.”
Ken Isaacs, a vice president at Samaritan’s Purse, said he was surprised to learn about the tax liability and that the charity would have to battle red tape and could have to file for an entire year, WPIX-TV reported.
Cuomo’s decision angered U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04), a doctor, who expressed his thoughts on his Facebook page.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all. I never thought I’d recommend that volunteers from the Volunteer State should not heed the call, but this is a massive slap in the face.
Governor Cuomo, you’re not subsidizing anything. You can simply choose not to take more money from people who came to your state – WHEN YOU ASKED – to help your citizens.
Of course, this is posturing for a request from more money from Washington – which means Gov. Cuomo believes that not only should he tax you from the state when you come to help, he’ll tax you from the federal level by demanding that they pay the state share of your income taxes.
If anybody can read this and find a way to defend it, I’d love to hear it.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.