Albany, NY - Gov. Cuomo Won't Rule Out Higher Taxes for Wealthy
Albany, NY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said he’s considering a wide variety of ways to close an unexpected budget gap, from his own ideas to create more private-sector jobs to a tax on millionaires pushed by the Assembly’s Democratic majority.
In a round of radio interviews Wednesday, Cuomo wouldn’t rule out anything, including the millionaire tax he strongly opposed in the current budget.
“For the first time, he didn’t flat-out deny that he would do it, so we’ll have to see,” said E.J. McMahon of the fiscally conservative Manhattan Institute.
The governor said he is embracing “the best thinking” as the state faces an unexpected $350 million deficit this year and a projected $3.5 billion deficit next year. One idea is from an influential senator who is preparing to release his own proposal to revise how New Yorkers are taxed.
Sen. Jeffrey Klein, a member of the Independent Democratic Conference that works closely with Cuomo and the Senate’s Republican majority, proposes higher income tax rates for New Yorkers making more than $250,000 a year. That’s similar to the so-called millionaire tax that expires Dec. 31. But Klein’s proposal would use all $4 billion generated by those tax increases to give tax breaks to middle-class New Yorkers and issue it in debit cards.
That would mean a typical debit card worth about $1,165 for a family of four making $100,000. A single filer making $30,000 would get $466. The tax breaks would be funded by a typical increase of $2,000 in taxes for New Yorkers with income more than $250,000. The tax rate would rise with income, hitting 10 percent for those making $3 million a year.
“That’s potentially $4 billion more in spending” into the economy, Klein told The Associated Press. “When we talk about the higher-income people paying more, I agree, but at the same time we should be giving something back to the working class.”
On Wednesday, Cuomo wouldn’t say how he might change the tax code or if he would use it to raise revenue for the state. Powerful Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver proposes a higher tax on earners making more than $1 million, mostly to fund education. It’s a top priority for the Assembly majority.
Cuomo also emphasized Wednesday that he will cooperate with legislative leaders and said he won’t allow Albany to again face the kind of political gridlock that gripped Washington over the federal deficit.
Cuomo told WGDJ-AM that he, Silver and Senate Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos have “a personally productive trusting relationship.”
Asked directly on public radio’s “The Capitol Pressroom” if he has changed his opposition to a millionaire tax, Cuomo said: “I’m working through, right now, the best economic plan for New York state ... we’re open to all the best thinking.”
“I haven’t made any decisions and I haven’t come to any conclusions,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo’s openness to a variety of job-creation proposals, from allowing casino gambling in the Catskills to gas drilling in the Southern Tier, and the opportunity for deal-making with the Legislature were reported earlier this week by The Associated Press.
Cuomo is crafting his 2012-13 budget proposal for the legislative session that begins in January.
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