Running for governor in 2010, Andrew Cuomo opposed extending New York’s millionaires surcharge tax.
“I was against it at the time,” Cuomo stated, “and I still am. It’s a new tax. It was supposed to sunset. If it doesn’t sunset it’s a tax.”
But in late 2011, Governor Cuomo changed his tune. At a meeting I attended as a member of Cuomo’s Council of Economic and Fiscal Advisers, he endorsed the extension of the millionaires tax. He told us he wanted to prove he could accomplish what the Obama administration at the time was failing to do: Raise income tax rates on the rich.
With the passage of the Republican Tax Reform Act, however, Cuomo appears to be flipping again.
He has denounced N.Y. GOP house members who supported the “diabolical” legislation as “Benedict Arnolds.” And he has accused them of “rape and pillage” for limiting state and local deductions to $10,000.
He and other lefties (i.e., Mayor de Blasio) are weeping and moaning that the hardest hit will be New York’s wealthiest households.
Championing the wealthy? Cuomo et al. are a bunch of hypocrites. They are for higher taxes on the rich only when they control the spending of those increased revenues.
The governor, who ran as a centrist in 2010, is proud he has moved to the far left. He’s bragging that the state will spend $160 billion this year — second to California.
“Yes, California and New York are high-tax states,” he boasted on National Public Radio in late December. “We have governments. We believe in providing social services and free college tuition, et cetera. And that’s a decision our states have made…”
I am appalled that the man, who once said “You are kidding yourself if you think you can be one of the highest-taxed states in the nation, have a reputation for being anti-business — and have a rosy economic future,” is now proud to preside over a high-tax state.
Contrary to Cuomo’s claims, New York households earning more than $200,000 annually have the highest average SALT deductions in the nation ($84,964), because decisions were made by Albany hacks to placate public-employee unions and radical leftists.
Their tax and spend philosophy has not been in the best interest of the general public and explains why 1 million New Yorkers have migrated to other states since 2010.
In late December, Cuomo went completely off the rails. In a CNBC interview on GOP tax reform, he said, “I’m not even sure what they did is legally constitutional and that’s something we’re looking at now… You have the constitution, you have the law, you have due process, you have equal protection. You can’t use politics just because the majority controls to override the law.”
The governor’s rant makes no sense. Maybe he has forgotten that the extension of his millionaires tax was imposed by legislative majorities.
To suggest that a uniform tax code that applies to every resident in the nation is discriminating against New Yorkers is absurd.
The governor should read the 1938 U.S. Supreme Court White v. U.S. decision which states, “Every deduction from gross income is allowed as a matter of legislative grace, and only as there is clear provision, therefore, can any particular deduction be allowed, and a taxpayer seeking a deduction must be able to point to an applicable statute and show that he comes within its terms.”
That ruling, which was reaffirmed in 1988, makes it clear that tax deductions are not an inherent right.
The governor also complained, “This is what happens when Washington passes a [tax] bill in the dead of night and doesn’t vet it with the public.”
Cuomo is truly shameless. Lest we forget, his state budgets are approved in the dead of night without legislative vetting, let alone public scrutiny. It was dark when the Tappan Zee Bridge was renamed the Mario Cuomo Bridge.
I will be paying more in taxes because of the loss of the SALT deduction. But, I’m not complaining for two reasons: First, over 80 percent of the tax cuts go to working-class families. I agree with Senator Bernie Sanders’ comments on CNN that the tax cuts for the middle class are a “very good thing.” Secondly, it is my hope that the loss of the deduction forces N.Y. elected officials at all levels of government to reassess their tax and spend habits. It’s time N.Y. budgets got in line with larger and more prosperous states like Texas and Florida.
If not, Cuomo should not be surprised if many of the 1 percenters, who pay almost half of the State income tax revenues, join the working-class voters who have moved to tax-, regulatory-, and job-friendly states.
George J. Marlin, a former executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is the author of "The American Catholic Voter: Two Hundred Years of Political Impact," and "Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy." He is chairman of Aid to the Church in Need-USA. Mr. Marlin also writes for TheCatholicThing.org and the Long Island Business News. To read more George J. Marlin — Click Here Now.
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