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Taxpayers Revolt in NYC

Taxpayers Revolt in NYC

No Federal Bailout of NYC Unless Reforms Give Taxpayers a Voice in Governance

Used with permission reader WAJ

Fifty-four percent of registered voters pay no taxes in New York City, according to a new study by Liberty Tree of America. This means that taxpayers who paying the highest taxes in the nation have no effective voice in governance. This toxic structural bias against taxpayers has resulted in an outright revolt that will result in a calamity unless steps are taken immediately to restore taxpayer confidence.

An anti-taxpayer attitude is rampant among NYC elected officials because they know they will suffer no penalty for it and, in fact, will be rewarded for it. The dirty little secret revealed by the Liberty Tree study is that candidates for office in NYC do not need taxpayers to get elected. In a tyranny reminiscent of British King George III’s reign in the 1770’s, NYC just wants a blank check from taxpayers to pay for the social programs they promise to those that actually matter to politicians in an election – the people who have the votes to elect them. It’s clear that they work for the expense side of the NYC budget – not the funding side. This toxic tax-governance structure explains a lot. Now it’s clear why the Mayor rewards municipal unions with pay increases well above the inflation rate and with excessive benefits valued at about $120 billion dollars and expands social programs at the cost of billions more. His voters want those things and most are not paying for any of it.

NYC taxpayers are tired of being abused. Over 300,000 taxpayers have left the City in 2020, according to reporting by the New York Post. That represents 12% of the City’s 2.6 million taxpayers. This qualifies as a full-scale revolt since taxpayers have the ultimate vote – which is to leave. The only major city to suffer an equivalent loss of taxpayers in modern times is Detroit and they went bankrupt in July 2013, six-months before NYC Mayor DeBlasio took office. Detroit’s bankruptcy was the societal equivalent of a neutron bomb causing massive damage to all residents regardless of socio-economic background. It’s apparent that Mayor DeBlasio learned nothing from the Detroit bankruptcy because he has continued with policies and political rhetoric which is anti-taxpayer.

Tax the rich more so they pay their “fair share” has become the mantra among NYC politicians. DeBlasio and Public Advocate Williams have advocated for increasing the already high taxes on high income taxpayers. This is a dangerous approach in a City where less than 2% of taxpayers fund nearly half the City budget and have the wherewithal to could move to a low tax jurisdiction in a day. And what would be their “fair share”? These politicians never say. Could it be when those 2% pay for 99.9% of all city funding.

How to Save NYC

NYC Leaders are hoping that Pelosi and a Biden Administration will provide a back-door bail out to the City by blaming all the City’s financial problems on Covid. That’s a risky bet because the Senate is likely to be controlled by Republicans, and even many Democrat Senators object to nationalizing the City’s debt, which was unsustainable even before Covid. Washington rejected NYC’s bailout request in the last financial crisis of the 1970’s and will do so again unless real reforms are instituted. It appears the City’s leaders don’t seem to have any real backup plan.

Reforms are needed immediately to prevent a disaster in NYC and to ensure there is never a third post-war financial crisis. The first crisis occurred in the 1970s and the request for a federal bailout at that time was denied because the feds were not convinced the City would make reforms that would turn things around. In hindsight, they were right.

A plan to restore confidence has been proposed by the Union of Taxpayers, New York Chapter. Union of Taxpayers was formed by taxpayers who realized that in many jurisdictions, like New York and Chicago, elected officials do not effectively work for taxpayers – they work for special interests that get them elected. It’s clear than no one taxpayer can change anything. By uniting taxpayers, the Union hopes to restore the country’s founding principle of “no taxation without representation.” The NY Chapter is the voice of over 1 million NYC taxpayers. All NYC taxpayers are encouraged to join as a member because when millions of taxpayers join together – their voice cannot be muted and their liberty cannot be stolen.

Any solution to the NYC financial crisis will involve taxpayer sacrifices and the Union intends to ensure that taxpayers have a true advocate sitting at the table so that they receive something in return. The Union takes an aggressively active role – as opposed to other organizations that are content with simply writing research reports.

The Union has called for changes to NYC’s tax and governance structure. The goal is to achieve long-lasting financial stability by restoring confidence to taxpayers, bond investors and federal funding sources. The key is to give taxpayers a say in budget and financing decisions. It requires a Taxpayer-Oversight Board (TOB) with the power to veto budget and financing proposals.

The TOB would work much like the Financial Control Board that was established during the last financial crisis. The key difference is that the TOB will be composed of actual NYC taxpayers who reside in NYC whereas the Financial Control Board is controlled by Albany. TOB members would be selected from a pool of taxpayers the same way jurors are selected, thereby removing politics from the selection process. The number selected would be sufficient to provide, statistically, at least 95% confidence that their decisions reflect those of fellow taxpayers.  Only when those directly affected by NYC finances – the taxpayers – are involved in budget and finance decisions will there be long lasting financial stability and real accountability.

Two Paths to a Taxpayer-Oversight Board

There are two ways to establish the TOB. One is for 30,000 NYC residents to sign a petition to amend the City Charter. The petition can be signed online at their website’s Petition Page. Signatures are only valid if they include a New York City address. Once the petition is certified by the clerk, it will be subject to a referendum. This whole process would take 11 months. A faster way is for the Governor to revise the NYC Financial Control Board so that its members are all NYC taxpayers using the same selection process as is proposed for the TOB. If the governor really wants Federal funding and to stop the loss of taxpayers – he will implement the Union’s proposal immediately. Senators should not agree to any bailout until a TOB is in place to provide proper oversight and accountability of NYC budget and finances.

Furthermore, the anti-taxpayer rhetoric must stop. In fact, it must be replaced with a campaign to educate the NYC population of the importance of taxpayers in civil society. Schools that are geared to teach all about the importance of social programs must also teach the importance of the people who pay for such programs. The reality is that states and cities compete for high income taxpayers who have the ability to live anywhere. NYC is not competitive even without the rhetoric. The tone is set at the top and it seems unrealistic that Mayor DeBlasio will change decades of behavior to reverse his class warfare campaign. If so, he should resign or the Governor should replace him to prevent further damage.

NYC Bailout

Sadly, we expect NYC politicians will resist any real changes. They are satisfied with the toxic structure that exists now because it benefits them. The best indication of this is their failure to formulate a real plan to address the crisis and their attempt to execute a back-door bailout from the federal government by blaming everything on Covid. They do not want to face up to their failures and to the structural problems that contributed to this second major postwar financial crisis. The same thing happened with Detroit which avoided dealing with its problems until it had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.

A Federal bailout of NYC will not solve the structural problems that caused this crisis and therefore increases the risk of a third-post was financial crisis that the next generation will have to deal with. It’s important that Federal funds be withheld until there are real reforms that change the dynamic. The key is ensuring that Taxpayers have a voice in budget and finance decisions and the TOB is therefore essential.

NYC leadership’s resistance to change can only be overcome by united taxpayers. The federal government can help by refusing to bailout the City unless the toxic anti-taxpayer structure is reformed and a TOB is implemented. Both Democrat and Republican Senators have an interest in ensuring this absurd financial and governance disaster will never happens again. Once NYC is turned around, taxpayers in other cities may be inspired to start chapters of the Union to advocate for taxpayer rights and for a TOB to ensure stability and accountability. The Union of Taxpayers hopes to bring together all the key parties to solve this problem for the good of New York City, for all of America, for the legacy of our nation’s founders and for future generations.


Davis is a member of the Union of Taxpayers, a division of Liberty Tree of America, a non-partisan organization that advocates for taxpayer rights. Davis also blogs on Parler @UnionofTaxpayers, on [email protected] and at https://unionoftaxpayers/blog


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“The dirty little secret revealed by the Liberty Tree study is that candidates for office in NYC do not need taxpayers to get elected. In a tyranny reminiscent of British King George III’s reign in the 1770 . . .”

Stated otherwise, when you have no skin in the game what do you care when or who bears the cost.

The word “free” should be banned from use. In reality, there’s no such concept as “free.” Properly understood, a service or a thing may come to you “at no cost,” but it is/was never free. Someone paid at some point.

Recall to mind Section 5 of the Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776), “That the legislative and executive powers of the state should be separate and distinct from the judiciary; and that the members of the two first may be restrained from oppression, by feeling and participating the burdens of the people, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, return into that body from which they were originally taken, and the vacancies be supplied by frequent, certain, and regular elections, in which all, or any part, of the former members, to be again eligible, or ineligible, as the laws shall direct.”

    “Hey, get your Obama phone. They’re free!” I too dislike the use of the word “free” in these contexts. Someone paid for the labor and materials to create that phone and to bring that phone to a distribution site.

    The whole concept of open exchange, of freedom itself, is distorted beyond recognition, when buyers, sellers, users don’t appropriately assign costs.

    In the Founder Era voting was restricted to those who had a tangible stake in how their government would be constructed, explaining why the franchise was extended to property owners. The result, ordered liberty.

    Today, the Gimme Class, the welfare class, corporate crony capitalists, among others, always want something for “free” so long as it’s at the expenses of someone else. Of course these classes are gonna always vote themselves a pay raise. That’s how Democrats remain in office.

      Brave Sir Robbin in reply to pfg. | December 18, 2020 at 10:59 pm

      So, the taxpayers of New York are revolting. Is that a step above or below deplorable?

        If they’re revolting I doubt many of them are revolting on principle, it’s purely a pocketbook issue. The same for those that are leaving NYC, or billionaires like Ellison. They’re escaping the consequences of their preferred politics, but never actually change their politics. They’re locusts not citizens.

      Kepha H in reply to pfg. | December 18, 2020 at 11:33 pm

      In every social studies class I teach (I’m a High School teacher), I remind my students that their education isn’t free, and that every “free” service they hear about is paid for through other people’s taxes.

The whole TOB idea seems unrealistic and unnecessary. I’ve got a better idea. People with money get sick of being over taxed, so they move out. The city goes to hell in a handbasket, the rest of America says “Jeeez, I don’t want my community to end up like that.” and political support for far left political positions collapses.

    Union-of-Taxpayers in reply to Dennis. | December 18, 2020 at 8:28 am

    It’s not realistic for all taxpayers everyone to coordinate a move out. And why destroy a city when the real issue can be solved with a change in the governance structure? Really, if you think about it for a few minutes, TOB makes the most sense,

      JusticeDelivered in reply to Union-of-Taxpayers. | December 19, 2020 at 1:05 pm

      Most cities are shit holes, granted often less so than many shit hole countries. The essence of cities are than they concentrate both good and bad, then they let the bad take over.

    Union-of-Taxpayers in reply to Dennis. | December 18, 2020 at 8:36 am

    In the extreme case, a tax boycott may be necessary to achieve real change. That would be a form of civil disobedience – essentially the equivalent of rioting in the street but much more powerful. This is a last resort. BLM shows that civil disobedience gets attention. HOWEVER, a tax boycott will only work if ALL taxpayers are united.

    Join the Union of Taxpayers – if you want real change. It’s time to stand up.

    Follow us on Twitter: @UTaxpayers
    on Parler: @UnionofTaxpayers

    henrybowman in reply to Dennis. | December 18, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Except that the people who move out come to your neighborhood and vote for the same brand of toads who ruined their old neighborhood, because they suffer a mental disconnect about the cause and effect link between how they voted and why the old neighborhood went to hell.

      Sometimes that happens, although NYC has a history of electing moderate right-wing mayors when the libs lurch too far to the left. NYC had David Dinkins as mayor, that didn’t turn out so well, so then it was Giuliani.

        Chicklet in reply to Dennis. | December 20, 2020 at 11:34 am

        Those days are long gone, though. Lord Andrew and Comrade Bill have worked very hard to depopulate the voters who might elect another Republican Mayor or Governor. There was a time when the State legislature was almost 50-50, the loony left from downstate balanced by conservative (mostly republican) upstate residents. Those conservative folks have died or moved away, their children are long gone.

        Look at Syracuse, Buffalo, Kingston, who is left to stand up to these people. Plus, these dying cities are being filled with thousands and thousands of ‘refugees’ who will soon get drivers licenses and represent imported future voters, all on the dole.

        With near supermajority status at the State level and virtually no moderates in the City, taxpayer revolt is happening now, everyone is moving away. Republicans (without Bloomberg’s money) will never be elected IMO. I’d say 57% is too small of a number. If you plan to stay you can sign that petition, but this is probably too little, too late.

“… subject to a referendum.”

If the citizens do not rebel against today’s “election” fraud, no future vote will matter as the elite already know the results.

Sadly — you’re smoking crack. It will have to get horribly worse before it gets better. Ben Stein’s father ( Nobel lauriate Herbert) said it best: “If it can’t continue forever — it won’t.”

Union-of-Taxpayers | December 18, 2020 at 8:41 am

No Taxation without Representation. That is not a Democrat or a Republican principle — It is a founding principle of America.

Every person who joins Union of Taxpayers is a patriot.

Follow Us: On Twitter @UTaxpayers
On Parler @UnionofTaxpaers

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Union-of-Taxpayers. | December 19, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    The thing is that cities scheme to get people outside the city to pay the city’s way. Even worse, is that low life city dwellers make the city a shit hole, and their shit spreads, destroying anything good.

Oversoul Of Dusk | December 18, 2020 at 8:41 am

The TOB sound good on paper — for about 30 seconds.

The good intentions would be defeated within 6 months. The TOB would come to be dominated by a handful of leftists who would cut deals with the traditional tax-and-spend crowd. The income of the favored few would be largely shielded from taxes, while the taxes on everyone else would keep going up, up, up.

The worst part is that leftists at the federal level would use this TOB as an excuse to say “NYC has reformed itself!” and send money grabbed from the legalized-theft victims (taxpayers) from the rest of the country.

But of course, that’s part of the plan. Mr./Mrs. Davis writes, “Any solution to the NYC financial crisis will involve taxpayer sacrifices”. These are the words of a person who’s either in on the scam or who has already surrendered. I see no basis to rule out either possibility. We’ve seen plenty of “reform” organizations that are stealthy tools of the left, and we’ve seen plenty of RINO surrender monkeys.

The TOB would protect the interests of the taxpayers the same way labor unions protect the interests of the rank-and-file workers. Not much at all.

Here’s my alternative plan: NYC gets no federal handouts. Ever.

    Union-of-Taxpayers in reply to Oversoul Of Dusk. | December 18, 2020 at 9:00 am

    As the article points out – the TOB would be composed only of taxpayers – who are selected in a process that removes the influence of the political parties.

      Right, because government selection processes are so fair and un-cheatable.

        Union-of-Taxpayers in reply to henrybowman. | December 18, 2020 at 12:04 pm

        It is different – I’ll tell you why. But first, I’ll note that (1) votes are a government selection process; and (2)Political Parties are an overlay on democracy and they tell you who is going to run.

        The TOB will be composed of over 100 taxpayers (in a city of 8.5 million) and they are selected out of a pool of about 2.4 million taxpayers the same way jurors are selected out of a pool of 8+ million residents. It is hard to game that selection – especially when media and parties will be examining it to ensure it gives no advantage to any party.

          Sounds suspiciously like voir dire… which is used to bias juries as much as possible.

          Plus your response of “votes are a government selection process” to my complaint that government selection processes are vulnerable to cheating is a source of great humor.

          Subotai Bahadur in reply to Union-of-Taxpayers. | December 18, 2020 at 4:15 pm

          1. We have seen numerous examples where NYC, its government, and the majority of its people have nothing but hatred and contempt for the rest of the country. There is no reason for the rest of us to carry the burden of TWANLOC. No bailouts ever!

          2) We are in the middle of proof that our voting process is both irredeemably corrupt and that the courts are protecting the corruption. This is a problem that will have to be dealt with, not in a gentle manner, nationwide. New York, city and state, uses the corrupt Dominion voting system and will use it to pick their own corrupt members of your TOB.

          3) You mention political parties. The Democrats and the GOPe are perfectly happy with the corruption and vote fraud noted in 2.

          Subotai Bahadur

    Union-of-Taxpayers in reply to Oversoul Of Dusk. | December 18, 2020 at 9:08 am

    Oversoul – you’re right that there are many organizations and people who “sell out”. The Union of Taxpayers was formed by taxpayers-for-taxpayers precisely because no one really represents taxpayer interests. The Union doesn’t just talk the talk – it takes action. BLM has been effective in adancing their agenda with action – including civil disobedience. Taxpayers have to learn that a passive approach doesn’t result in meaningful the changes.

i disagree with any federal bailout for NYC or NY State. if NY State wants to bailout NYC, i have no objection. Local control and all that. if the residents want a communist mayor and want to live in a shit hole, that is their choice and should be allowed to do so. if the tax payers move and abandon NYC, let it go bankrupt, it deserves it.
of course, NYC could learn to live within its means just like everyone else. DeBlowhard has warned that if they do not get a bailout he will have to layoff 20,000 city workers. good. that is a start. Next step, throw the bums out. the political bums, that is.

    Union-of-Taxpayers in reply to artbyjoe. | December 18, 2020 at 10:19 am

    ArtbyJoe – you make some good points. But remember that if taxpayer votes are diluted – they cannot just “vote the bums out.” The reality is that taxpayers are HOSTAGES in a governance system that gives them no real voice.

    The only way to save the hostages is by giving them a say in budget and finance matters. Taxpayers fund the City – it’s only right that they have a say in how the money is spent and how much the City is allowed to take from them.

      Jefferson had a better idea: once each generation. Had we followed it, we wouldn’t be where we are now.

      Pretending that the cure for bad government is more government is just stinkin’ thinkin’. Refer to Conquest’s second law.

“No Federal Bailout of NYC Unless Reforms Give Taxpayers a Voice in Governance”
No federal bailout of NYC….period.
Otherwise, the statement sounds suspiciously like “I will gladly pay you Tuesday,”

Union-of-Taxpayers | December 18, 2020 at 10:36 am

You have to be realistic. The largest City in the USA will not be left to rot. NYC will get a bailout of some kind – whether federal or state or both. No taxpayer is happy about it.

Taxpayers can either sit back and watch it all happen and get screwed as per usual — or they can STAND UP and fight – get something in return. Get a say in how their money is spent.

Let’s be honest – taxpayers are as much to blame as the Politicos. YES that means you and your fellow citizens. You let this happen by being passive and thinking your vote would be sufficient to represent your interest. Others organized to push their agenda – an anti-taxpayer agenda – while taxpayers sat on their hands. Yeah, you were lulled into complacency by an establishment that benefits from a sleepy group of taxpayers. Nonetheless, you have a responsibility in a democracy to be aware of what is happening and to protect your rights. Tyranny does not come over-night – it sets in over many years with 100 small incremental cuts. Eventually, Liberty bleeds out.

It’s no longer sufficient to simply complain about government. If you’re not willing to STAND UP and take action — YOU are part of the problem.

Join Union of Taxpayers. United we win.

    I would avoid part-of-solution/part-of-problem rhetoric. It reeks of self-righteousness and motivates many to walk away, or even support the opposite side, just to spite you.

      Union-of-Taxpayers in reply to drednicolson. | December 18, 2020 at 11:20 am

      It’s meant to be a call to action. Other organizations with anti-taxpayer agendas – have used much sharper rhetoric and they have people marching in the streets. I think people know that something must be done. Taxpayers have a central role as funding the government and therefore are the obvious group to rally for change.

    UOT. New Yawk didn’t get the bailout the last time they demanded it in the 1970’s. I remember well the Texas reply to them was “Let them freeze in the dark”. Of course, China Joe may have other ideas, but maybe the senate can hold out.

Take it to the next level.

A Coalition of Lawful States should agree to withhold the sending of federal taxes until such time as their common complaints get a fair and open hearing.

Any state, red or blue or purple, that submitted its federal election results ON TIME and with no big stink of shenanigans should be invited to join.

    Union-of-Taxpayers in reply to drednicolson. | December 18, 2020 at 11:26 am

    No state will withhold federal taxes. That is an invitation to federal troops under the Insurrection Act. No governor, AG or other elected official will agree to withhold federal taxes. They couldn’t anyway – since federal taxes are paid directly to the feds.

    And the problem is bigger than one election or a group of states. Taxpayers in all states have a common grievance. The trend in the last 20 to 30 years is a dilution of taxpayer voice and a structural bias against taxpayers throughout the governance structure – local, state and federal. That can only be stopped if taxpayers unite across the country.

NYC is the largest welfare state in the nation. Every aspect of the governance of the city is designed to benefit people who can not afford to live there. From direct welfare benefits, to free medical help, to rent and price controls, the entire city is geared to allow people who could not otherwise afford to live there, live there. In order to make that possible, the city overburdens those with taxable income with outrageous taxes. This makes it impossible for anyone except the very well to do or the indigent to live and work there. Now, with the destruction of the remaining middle class, through lockdown mania, a huge portion of the tax paying population is simply leaving. And, to make it worse, this same study found that the number of taxpayers leaving was roughly equivalent to the number of non-taxpayers moving into the city.

NYC can not save itself. It is too late. Detroit, once a jewel in the Midwest has never recovered from its financial woes, even with massive influxes of money. It is being propped up by the rest of the state and nation. NYC will end up the same way, sooner or later.

    Another Voice in reply to Mac45. | December 18, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    There are 62 Counties in New York State. In the numbers posted at the outcome vote for President, 43 Counties voted Republican while 19 voted Democrat.
    Of the 19 Democrat majority Counties, 3 of them lost the Republican majority by less 10%. Yet here we are being dominated by 16 Democrat Counites, 25% of NY voting districts, calling the shots for the entire New York State populace. Those counties are also the same ones legislating their progressive agendas in Albany in the Assembly and Senate. With the loss of 1.4 million residents over the past 5 years, one can only hope that the 2020 census gives us re-districting relief and leveling the playing field between urban density Democrat Counties and the other 43 counties which comprise 75 % of the entire state for better representation at the table.

Structural Bias against taxpayers is a real thing. And its getting worse. It’s about time some organization started to actually push back against the anti-taxpayer attitude. I only wish the Union got started sooner. It may not be perfect – but at least Union of Taxpayers has some reasonable plan to fight.

I remember when NYS was advertising to recruit businesses to relocate into the state. Had to laugh because only fools would do that.

NYS has 6% property taxes which has destroyed their real-estate market and prevented property owners from benefiting from their property.

Not only that, but NYS has insane laws. For example it is illegal for gas stations to have gas nozzles that lock open while you filling you car’s gas tank. They require that people stand out in the cold, wind and snow while filling up. It’s supposed to be for safety, but other states who don’t have this law don’t have problems.

Thanks for the post. I joined and donated.

Thanks. I joined and donated too.

I’m telling everyone to join.

Washington rejected NYC’s bailout request in the last financial crisis of the 1970’s and will do so again unless real reforms are instituted.

NYC is a bastion of progressive power. Zero chance that a Biden administration and a compliant Congress will refuse a bailout this time around.

Any bailout of New York City/New York State should also come with a forced split of the state into three states: NYC, Long Island, and North New York. Same concept goes for Chicago & Illinois, and California.

effect depends on how the divide would be gerrymandered. if the blue majority of the large cities is divided among the remaining pieces, then result would be more blue Senators. if the large cities were isolated, then the result would be an increase of red Senators.
either way, the problems of the large cities will not be helped. they are Blue run hellhole shitholes. population of the large cities is mostly of the gimmie, gimmie persuasion. the gimmie’s breed like coat hangers in a closet. at the moment the large cities gimmie’s are subsidized by property taxes, which mostly effect the wealthy, who are abandoning the cities. the large cities are well on their way along the downward spiral of Detroit. so be it. it is the result of power and control being in the hands of the Blues. change that, and there is hope of rehabilitation.

    hopeful in reply to artbyjoe. | December 19, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    artby, in St Louis,the City keeps trying to expand its tax base by incorporating the county and making the county residents pay city taxes. So far it hasn’t worked. My house in a “good” county school district will probably be worth $20 if they finally get it done., because already younger people are leaving SL county in droves for another county with fewer snarling mouths. Houses there are selling in *days* for more than a comparable house this side of the Missouri river. I couldn’t sell my house in SL county and get one 80% as good there.

    Very sad for anyone who has all their wealth tied up in a house.