(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images, Common Dreams)

Following New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's Wednesday announcement that nearly 500 members of his staff would be placed on an unpaid one-week furlough in an effort to reduce government spending, progressive group Patriotic Millionaires warned that the move is "just a taste of the devastating budget cuts that are in store for New York in the coming months" and implored Gov. Andrew Cuomo to raise taxes on wealthy New Yorkers in order to avoid harmful austerity measures.

New York City is facing a $9 billion budget shortfall, and the state budget deficit has increased to $14.5 billion during the coronavirus crisis, according to Patriotic Millionaires.

To close these fiscal gaps, Cuomo has "chosen to dramatically cut spending on programs that millions of New Yorkers rely on," the group said. But that is not the only available option, the tax fairness advocates pointed out, explaining that Cuomo could "raise revenue from wealthy New Yorkers, many of whom have seen their net worths increase during the pandemic."

Morris Pearl, the chair of Patriotic Millionaires, criticized Cuomo's refusal to increase taxes on the state's wealthiest residents.

"New Yorkers shouldn't have to tighten their belts and prepare for austerity measures," Pearl argued. "There's plenty of money in this state to fund every single important government function, we just need a governor who is willing to tax the rich."

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