NY TIMES: AS ECONOMY LAGS, CUOMO RECONSIDERS TAX STANCE

 
By THOMAS KAPLAN

Faced with a worsening financial climate, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Wednesday that he was contemplating whether to propose changes to the state tax code, and he did not rule out the possibility that he would seek to raise taxes on wealthy New Yorkers.

In a pair of radio appearances, Mr. Cuomo offered no details on what he was considering. But he suggested that changing how the state taxed its residents and businesses could be a way to promote economic growth.

“What I’m looking at is, what do you do with the tax code, and how can you use the tax code to stimulate the creation of private-sector jobs,” Mr. Cuomo said in an interview on the Albany radio station WGDJ-AM. He made essentially the same point on “Capitol Pressroom,” a program carried by several stations.

As a candidate for governor last year, Mr. Cuomo said, “Raising taxes is not an option — period,” and he made similar pledges at his inauguration and in his State of the State address.

But since that time, the state’s financial condition has worsened, and many of Mr. Cuomo’s fellow Democrats, reinforced by the Occupy Wall Street movement, have urged him to reconsider his decision to allow an income tax surcharge on high earners, a so-called millionaires’ tax, to lapse this month.

On Wednesday, Mr. Cuomo affirmed his opposition to a state millionaires’ tax, but declined to say that he would not seek any tax increases in the legislative session that begins in January.

“I am in discussions, I have ideas, people have ideas, but we have no decisions,” Mr. Cuomo said, noting that his budget proposal would be unveiled in a month and a half.

Mr. Cuomo has spoken several times in recent weeks about his desire to ensure “fairness” in the tax code.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that he was considering a proposal that would alter the state’s personal income tax brackets to raise additional revenue from the highest-earning New Yorkers while also providing new tax breaks, possibly aimed at the middle class…

But Mr. Cuomo’s comments drew praise from one Republican state senator.

“If the governor forced the discussion about actually aggressively going back and redoing the tax code with a complete overhaul, that’d be extremely helpful, especially in creating a more hospitable environment for working families and the real job creators,” the senator, Gregory R. Ball of Putnam County, said. (READ MORE)

Publication date: 
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 00:00