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Somehow NY Still Has a Tax Credit for Luxury Yachts and Private Jets

And more news for your Thursday.

a mound of trash

(Hell Gate)

In 2015, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature gave the wealthiest New Yorkers even more of an unnecessary boost as part of that year's budget deal—a nice tax break for buyers of private jets and yachts. Since then, buyers of yachts have only had to pay sales tax on the first $230,000 of the cost of their pleasure craft, and for private jets that carry fewer than 20 people, the sales tax has been eliminated altogether. 

What became known as the "yacht tax credit" likely would have snuck by the public's attention but for the efforts of the Fiscal Policy Institute, which combed through the budget after it was approved by lawmakers. "We were simply looking for things like property tax relief for regular folks and we found the yacht exemption," Ronald Deutsch, FPI’s executive director at the time, told the New York Times. Deutsch added, "I think it is incredibly sad you have so many New Yorkers who are struggling and this government's priorities are on a yacht tax credit."

According to Reinvent Albany, the tax break for private jets costs the state about $10 million in revenue each year. If our leaders can't agree on raising taxes on the ultra-rich, can't they agree at least on getting rid of this little, infuriating giveaway? Maybe. Since 2020, Manhattan State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Brooklyn Assemblymember Robert Carroll have tried to get rid of these tax breaks, only for the bills to die in committee. This year, their legislation has been included in the State Senate's budget proposal

"At a time when New York State is facing difficult budgetary decisions, we should look first at reversing or repealing recent tax cuts like this one before cutting services or programs that aid poor, vulnerable, and working class New Yorkers," the text for both bills notes

To see what big-ticket items are (and aren't) being debated this year, check out this handy guide put together by our friends at New York Focus. 

And some links that don't benefit the wealthy: 

  • Eric Adams's ties to the billionaire who pled guilty to making fraudulent campaign donations go deeper than the mayor has admitted. Via the CITY and Documented: "Adams has not disputed a report that he was one of the three recipients of the campaign donations fraudulently made by 56-year-old billionaire Hui Qin. But Adams' ties to Qin and Qin's now-former wife, Emma Liu, are deeper than a single meeting on the campaign trail, publicly available records indicate. According to a bio posted on the site of an arts and culture nonprofit she chairs, Liu, to whom Qin was married for more than a decade, was tapped by the mayor's office to serve on Adams' Asian Affairs Advisory Council. The advisory council was formed in 2022 under the leadership of Adams' director of Asian Affairs, Winnie Greco, whose two homes in the Bronx were raided last month by the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
  • Dan Goldman, folks:
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