GREAT NECK - About a dozen Long Islanders rallied in front of a Great Neck bank to protest a proposed state tax cut.
The protesters are upset over millions of dollars in tax breaks that the banking industry would receive under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget. They say earmarking banks for tax relief is absurd when there are other areas that need assistance.
“The top salaried people are making literally millions of dollars in bonuses every year,” says Gene Lopez, of Wyandanch. “They're doing better now than ever. They don't need relief. We need relief.”
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In New York, banks are currently taxed at a higher rate than other corporations, but under Gov. Cuomo’s budget, they would be taxed at the same rate. The result is that next year, banks would pay about $300 million less in taxes.
Cuomo defends the move, saying it will encourage banks to expand in New York and create jobs.
Political consultant Mike Dawidziak says Cuomo may also be looking ahead to a possible presidential run in 2016, saying the move could attract campaign contributions.
Administration officials deny such talk and say it's simply an attempt to make New York a more business-friendly state for all industries.
The governor is also proposing a cut in the corporate tax rate in New York for all businesses from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent.