New York's Cuomo to volunteer first responders: Pay up

The coronavirus criss has prompted a lot of giving and generosity on the part of the powerful and even the economically battered. The federal stimulus checks, for instance, were tax-free. Gyms are rebating membership fees. Some landlords are permitting a skipping of rent. Some local city councils are banning evictions. Auto insurance companies are giving their customers rebates. Credit card companies are giving laid off workers breaks. Restaurants are donating meals. It's a season of flexibility.

But then there's Andrew Cuomo, the New York governor with the tinnest ear in politics  -- and zero gratitude:

NEW YORK — Health care workers that came to New York to help fight the coronavirus pandemic at its epicenter will have to pay state taxes, according to the governor.
 
He addressed the issues Tuesday at a news conference.
 
"We're not in a position to provide any subsidies right now because we have a $13 billion deficit," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "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."
 
Even though the state government asked thousands of people to come to New York from out of state to help fight coronavirus, they will have to pay New York state taxes, even on income they might make from their home states that they're paid while in New York.
Hear that? Volunteer to help in New York, get socked for New York state taxes, and rest assured, those taxes are big. For some workers, that might mean paying taxes in two states for the 'privilege' of putting your life on the line with the coronavirus. 
 
Cuomo claims that previous obligations and obviously, the state economic shutdown based on the pandemic, are why he won't give these workers a break.
 
Which is a heck of an incentive to volunteers in an emergency situation. If anyone deserves a break in such circumstances, it's emergency workers who fly in from other states and put their lives on the line to help save New York. In New York's state legislature, there is currently a bill on the table from Republicans, calling allowing volunteers who are being paid elsewhere to avoid state taxes, but thus far, it's gone nowhere. A previous bill from 2019, for fightfighters and first responder volunteers from the outside to be tax exempt is similarly sitting on the state senate floor, too, also going nowhere.
 
And now Cuomo of all people, is suddenly concerned about fiscal discipline.
 
So instead of cut bloated teacher pensions or force bureaucrats to retire at 65 like the rest of us, Cuomo complains about not having enough money for 'subsidies' (a heckuva insult given that the money in question was the workers' own money) for people who bailed out his state with their volunteering. He's citing his state's $13 billion deficit, and now he is effectively holding these workers' well deserved tax exemption hostage to the federal government, telling it to pay up with a bailout or else he sticks it to the first responders.
 
He was happy to take their labor, he was happy they saved New Yorkers' lives (or so one hopes), but he sure as heck wants them to shell out and at higher rates than any other state they could possibly live in, (and quite possibly to two states) because of his state's mismanaged finances.
 
Word tends to get out when stiffings like this happen.
 
What a way to keep 'em coming.
 
Image credit: Zack Seward via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0