When running for his first gubernatorial term in 2010, Andrew Cuomo published a 224-page book, "The New N.Y. York Agenda: A Plan for Action."
In that work, he pointed out that New York has the second highest combined state and local taxes and the highest personal income tax rate in the nation.
Cuomo argued that New York was "in this predicament because the State made promises that it could not keep when revenues failed to continue to grow to very high level. . . . Our state government failed to take the hard, but necessary steps to control spending during the years when the economy was strong. Government refused to say no to any powerful special interest group and used financial gimmicks to hide problems or kick them down the road."
He also admitted that, "[W]e cannot tax our way out of the current crisis," pledged not to increase taxes and to "veto any increase in personal or corporate income taxes or sales taxes."
And he clearly stated that he would oppose extending the so-called millionaires tax beyond 2011 — "I was against it at the time, and I still am. It's a new tax. It was supposed to sunset. If it doesn't sunset it's a tax."
During his first year as governor, Cuomo continued to display a sound understanding of New York's dire situation. In October of 2011, he declared, "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."
However, the governor abandoned his no-tax increase pledge in 2012 to placate the extreme leftist "soak the rich" wing of his party. The man who said "I'm not going to go back and forth with the political winds" did just that.
Since then, Cuomo has continued to increase the tax burden to fund ideologically driven pork ladened budgets.
A report released this month by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli analyzing the governor's budget for fiscal year 2017–2018, included the following list of tax proposals enacted: 1. Extend the top [millionaire tax] rate of 8.82 percent for two years. 2. Extend the limitation on charitable contribution deductions for high income taxpayers for two years. 3. Extend the fees on oil and gas producers for three years. Require sales between related entities to be subject to the sales and use tax. Impose the sales and use tax on gas and electricity transmission. 4. Extend certain pari-mutual tax rates and certain simulcasting provisions for one year.
Those tax increases are to fund a record-breaking $163 billion budget that includes billions of dollars in pork barrel spending to reward political cronies and favored special interest groups.
According to the state comptroller, the budget includes "new lump-sum appropriations that allow taxpayer dollars to be spent with minimal disclosure" and "significant amounts of spending are shifted off-budget, which reduces oversight and obscures the overall level of spending and year to year growth."
The budget also authorizes increased state-supported debt—without voter approval—by a staggering $10.5 billion.
Here's a small sampling of pork projects your tax dollars will finance:
- $500,000 for the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
- $250,000 for the Carnegie Hall Corporation
- $110,000 for Watkins Glen International
- $100,000 for Canisius College
- $100,000 for North Country Chamber of Commerce
- $100,000 for the new Bronx Chamber of Commerce
- $1 million for the Beginning Farmers New York Fund
- $108 million for the Kingsbridge Armory
- $8 million for the Market N.Y. project
- $2.3 million for professional football in western New York
Sad to say, Cuomo’s self-proclaimed "The New N.Y. York Agenda: A Plan for Action" has been nothing more than fiscal conjuring that portrays bloated budgets as responsibly balanced while pandering to special interests and increasing spending, pork and taxes.
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." He also is a columnist for TheCatholicThing.org and the Long Island Business News. Read more reports from George J. Marlin — Click Here Now.
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