Rep. Zeldin Announces Candidacy for New York Governor Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y, speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the House Committee On Foreign Affairs March 10, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Ting Shen-Pool/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Thursday, 08 April 2021 08:05 AM
Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., Thursday announced he'll run for governor of New York, citing both the scandals faced by incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., and the growing tax rate that's leading people to leave the state for Florida and other locations.
"I have spoken to New Yorkers from all across this state and it doesn't matter whether you are middle income, you are from upstate, downstate, you are getting hit with new tax hikes now," Zeldin said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends," on which he made his announcement. "After talking to New Yorkers who feel like this is a last stand, a last great opportunity to save New York and the fact is, that to save our state Andrew Cuomo has got to go."
Zeldin added he is "all in" and that "losing is not an option. We have to turn things around."
The budget deal reached in New York this week was a deciding factor, Zeldin said.
New York state leaders announced Tuesday an agreement on a $212 billion state budget that will include tax increases on the state's wealthy while allowing significant relief for undocumented immigrants, renters, and business owners hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, reports The New York Times.
The report noted the proposals all were pushed by Democrat state leaders leveraging Cuomo's weakened political position, and included a personal income tax increase on individuals earning more than $1 million a year, a measure Cuomo has not supported in the past.
State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy slammed the plan as "woke insanity," noting the budget raises taxes on New Yorkers and businesses by $4 billion, and enacts a $2 billion fund that provides $25,000 payments to illegal immigrants.
"You have this budget this past week where you create the highest income tax rate in the country" to "create a new multibillion dollars fund for people who are not legally even in the country and the state," Zeldin said Thursday.
He added such "attacks on our wallet," along with others on "freedoms and safety," have been driving forces behind his decision.
"It's the deadly nursing home order and cover-up," Zeldin said. "It's all of these scandals of abuse. It's the COVID testing, giving preferential treatment to his family at private residences with state department health officials. Front of lab priority access for getting those tests done."
He added that on many different levels, people are concluding, whether they're Democrats or Republicans, that Cuomo has "been there too long. It's time to go."
Zeldin also pointed out that for the "first time in my entire life," Democrats are ruling in New York City, Albany, and in Washington, D.C.
"They're all doing their part to destroy their levels of government," Zeldin said. "We can't get complacent. Everyone is frustrated."
But instead of fleeing to other states, Zeldin said people should "stay here and fight, and return New York to its glory."
Something must also be done about the state's high income tax rates to keep people in the state, Zeldin said.
"The geniuses up in Albany think if they just raise the income tax rate for New Yorkers, now they are going to pay their fair share," he said. "What you actually did for many, they are hitting their breaking point and they are fleeing. Essentially, you just lowered their income tax rate to zero because they are not going to be giving you any money whatsoever."