Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact

$16 Billion Corporate Give Away!

Filed under: State Politics

for sale

When you sell real estate in Erie County you have to pay a transfer tax in the amount of $9 per thousand. If your property sells for $200,000 you pay an $1,800 transfer tax.

If a stock brokerage firm sells stock in England, Germany, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, or France, they pay a transfer tax. A stock transfer tax has been on the books in New York State since the early 1900’s. Since 1981 the stock transfer tax paid is immediately 100 percent rebated back to Wall Street firms.

The transfer tax is five cents per share, for a maximum of $350 per transaction and generates $12 to $16 billion per year. According to the New York Times in 2013, Wall Street firms paid $27 billion in bonuses, an average of $164,530. The average pay of Wall Street employees, including salary and bonuses, was $360,700 in 2012.

How is it that $16 billion of taxes gets returned back Wall Street?

How is it that Andrew Cuomo and other statewide politicians raise millions of dollars in political campaign contributions?

Wealthy individuals and special interests donate money to politicians for a reason. Such donations are not made because they believe in good government, there made because people want something in return.

The New York Public Interest Research Group recently did an analysis of Cuomo’s contributors

  • More than 80 percent of Cuomo’s money has come from donors who have given totals of $10,000 or more;
  • Only 0.69 percent of Cuomo’s money has come from individuals who have given totals of less than $1,000;
  • 242 donors have given Cuomo $40,000 or more.

Cuomo likes to portray himself as working for the common person but he is financed by wealthy special interests. Wall Street gets their $16 billion refund, while real estate developers and other politically connected businesses feed on an estimated $7 billion a year in taxpayer funded grants and tax breaks. 

Sadly we have a “pay to play” system where our government officials are for sale.


  • UncleBluck

    Andrew Cuomo….The wolf in sheep’s clothing….

  • jimd54

    I am a little confused. The wikipedia page claims the rebate is funneled back to the taxpayer/investor through the brokerage firm. It does not appear Wall Street grabs anything, it just transfers the tax back to the person buying the stock. Now, none of this process makes any sense to me. Why levy a tax only to rebate it? What am I missing here?
    Also if this process started in 1981, how do you conflate it with Cuomo’s donor list?

  • PaulWolf

    It does not make sense to levy a tax and pay it back but that’s the type of special treatment wealthy politically connected institutions and people can get. In exchange for campaign donations Cuomo and previous state elected officials have continued this practice. Cuomo in this year’s state budget has proposed eliminating the stock transfer tax. Eliminating the tax is a bone Cuomo can throw towards Wall Street, which is where some of his $33 million in campaign contributions come from.