Protesters with plastic pitchforks gathered outside the vacation homes of billionaire Mike Bloomberg and other wealthy New Yorkers in the Hamptons this week.
Among the 200 protesters were members of social justice organizations and the Shinnecock Indian Nation.
Protesters demanded that billionaires pay higher taxes to help meet the state’s budget shortfall caused by the pandemic, and say the burden has fallen largely on minority communities.
Tribal member Margo ThunderBird says Bloomberg’s vacation home is on land that should be restored to the Shinnecock.
“Mr. Former Mayor Bloomberg, Mr. Former Candidate for President, you fancy yourself a leader. Well I suggest you lead your accountants to your checkbooks, and begin to pay your rent!”
Governor Andrew Cuomo may cut 20% of funding for schools, hospitals and local governments to close the budget deficit due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, many wealthy New Yorkers, including Bloomberg, have seen their fortunes grow by several billion dollars since the beginning of the pandemic. Protest organizer Jamell Henderson says taxing billionaires could fill the gap instead.
“We are here because our demands are very simple. If you are in our state, and you are benefiting off the backs of individuals that look like you and I, the hardworking New Yorkers that make the economy strong, you need to pay up! In 2020, the rich are still getting richer, and the poor is getting poorer.”
Bloomberg has not commented, but had supported raising taxes on the rich when he made a run for president this year. He has also donated at least $10 million for contact tracing COVID-19 in New York.