NYSE chief warns it may exit New York if stock transfer tax is imposed

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The New York Stock Exchange may leave New York State if Albany imposes a transfer tax on stock sales, the president of the Intercontinental Exchange-owned exchange operator said on Tuesday in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

NYSE President Stacey Cunningham said she and 25 other representatives of New York’s securities industry sent a letter last Wednesday to state legislative leaders warning against the unintended consequences of imposing such a tax, which would ultimately be borne by investors.

“The New York Stock Exchange belongs in New York. If Albany lawmakers get their way, however, the center of the global financial industry may need to find a new home,” she said.

An NYSE representative declined to comment further.

New York State is facing steep budgetary shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting some state lawmakers to introduce a bill that would tax certain financial transactions.

The idea of a new transaction tax seems to have little support with the governor’s office.

When the topic came up at a January press conference, budget director Robert Mujica said a lot of ideas around such taxes “haven’t been fleshed out,” according to a copy of the remarks provided to Reuters by an official in the New York State Division of the Budget.

Mujica pointed to a financial tax that had been proposed last year in New Jersey, where many exchanges host their servers, and noted that the exchanges quickly mobilized to temporarily move their employees and activity outside of the state.

The pandemic has shown people can do business anywhere, he said. “So if we increase the tax like that, you mobilize people, potentially just move your transactions and your servers to another part of the country where those taxes don’t exist.”

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