February 2, 2011

IF HE GOVERNS LIKE A HOWARD DEAN OR JOHN LYNCH HE COULD BE PRESIDENT ONE DAY:

Cuomo the Conservative (Michael Tanner, 2/02/11, National Review)

“The old way of solving the problem was continuing to raise taxes on people, and we just can’t do that anymore. The working families of New York cannot afford tax increases. The answer is going to have to be that we’re going to have to reduce government spending,” Cuomo declared.

In fact, Cuomo didn’t just rule out tax increases, he actually called for tax cuts. Already he has pushed through the state senate a bill establishing one of the nation’s strongest caps on property taxes. For New York businesses and homeowners, this is a long overdue move. Nationally, the median annual property tax is $1,917. In some New York counties, the average property-tax bill exceeds $9,000.

Cuomo’s proposal, modeled after nearby Massachusetts’s successful Proposition 2½, would limit property-tax increases to no more than 2 percent or 120 percent of the inflation rate, whichever is lower. Significantly, it does not include traditional loopholes for things like government employees’ health-insurance premiums or pensions. It would also eliminate the practice of localities’ voting separately to approve school budgets without regard to their impact on taxes. And most important, the bill would require a 60 percent supermajority for voters to override the cap, ensuring that taxes would only be raised for genuine emergencies or the most worthwhile projects.

Cuomo also has announced that he will allow the state’s “temporary” income-tax surcharge on the wealthy to expire as scheduled at the end of this year. That has outraged liberal groups, unions, and the New York Times, but Cuomo responds by warning that high taxes are a job-killer and would “just prolong the recessionary conditions in the state.”

Of course, tax-cutting is always easier than budget-cutting — as Congress has shown in recent years — but Cuomo also seems serious about controlling state spending. In fact, Cuomo sounds almost Reaganesque, declaring flatly, “The state spends too much money.”

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 2, 2011 7:08 AM
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