creators.com opinion web
Conservative Opinion General Opinion
Joe Conason
Joe Conason
18 Apr 2014
Congratulations! A New Conspiracy Is Born

With the happy news that Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky expect their first child later this year, the … Read More.

4 Apr 2014
On Our Highest Court, a Former Lobbyist Guts Campaign Finance Reform

For a large and bipartisan majority of Americans, the increasing power of money in politics is deeply troubling.… Read More.

28 Mar 2014
In Midterm Campaign, Bill Clinton Urges Democrats to Embrace Health Care Reform

Defending the Affordable Care Act in his memorable nominating speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention,… Read More.

Will Popular Reformer Cuomo's Plan Tax the 1 Percent?

Comment

Held aloft by the highest approval ratings of any governor in America, Andrew Cuomo scarcely seemed to worry about angering his state's progressives, who were disappointed by his refusal to extend a state surtax on New York's millionaires. But in what may come to be regarded as a watershed moment in his tenure, Cuomo now plans a sweeping tax reform that is expected to demand more, not less, from the state's wealthiest, while reducing the burden on the middle class — in the name of "fundamental fairness."

Over the weekend, rumors of a shift in Cuomo's anti-tax position began to circulate, confirmed on Monday morning when his office dispatched a short essay by the governor to newspaper editors around the state arguing that New York's current tax code is "unfair" to the middle class and inhibits economic growth.

Rather than the expiring surcharges, which Cuomo castigates for raising the taxes of families making $200,000 a year — "hardly millionaires," as he put it — his proposed new system would add higher brackets at the top end and lower brackets in the middle. Although he didn't offer details yet, his aims are clear enough:

"First, we need to reform the code in a way that creates jobs and grows our economy. To do that, we need to put more money in New Yorkers' pockets and inject it back in to the economy. There are also tax credits that can incentivize private-sector job growth.

"Second, true reform for fairness has two factors: income brackets that fairly group income levels and progressive rates increasing with income.

Simply put, to me 'fairness' dictates that the more you make the more you pay, and the higher your income the higher your rate. Also, you should be treated the same as people with similar incomes and differently from people who make significantly more, or significantly less, than you earn."

Fairly or not, Cuomo's decision to seek higher levies on the state's highest earners will be portrayed as a turnabout from his earlier position, which had cast him as a defender of Wall Street and big business against labor populism. Predictably enough, Republicans and the local tea party were swift to attack. Mike Long, chairman of the state's Conservative Party (and longtime antagonist of Cuomo and his father, the former governor), denounced him as a flip-flopper.

"He's the one who made a principled stand," said Long. "Whether you agree with that principled stand or not, once you break a principled stand, then one wonders what you can count on him for in the future." The state's tea party leaders said that Cuomo should be cutting more spending instead of raising taxes.

But Cuomo crushed the tea party-sponsored opposition to his campaign in last year's election, against the midterm right-wing tide — and his opinion that the rich should be taxed more is at least as popular as Cuomo himself. If he succeeds in changing the tax system to encourage both higher employment and greater equity, he will have removed a potential obstacle to any future national ambitions he may cherish.

Joe Conason is the editor in chief of NationalMemo.com. To find out more about Joe Conason, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM



Comments

0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Joe Conason
Apr. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 1 2 3
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Jim Hightower
Jim HightowerUpdated 23 Apr 2014
Roger Simon
Roger SimonUpdated 23 Apr 2014
Susan EstrichUpdated 23 Apr 2014

19 Jun 2008 Taxes, Integrity and Character

5 Feb 2009 Stimulus Skeptics Wrong (Again)

25 Sep 2008 A Special Prosecutor for Wall Street