Tuesday, December 09, 2014
By Beth Fertig
Friday, December 09, 2011
Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":
Chairman of the State Senate Finance Committee John DeFrancisco discusses the how events of the past week unfolded; his conference’s next step in the “prisoner gerrymandering lawsuit”; and his priorities for the upcoming session.
And then we look at the view from DC, first with 23rd Congressional District Rep. Bill Owens who will comment on Albany versus DC in light of the recent compromise on the millionaire's tax. We will also ask him about the payroll tax cut, regulation and the US mail.
And 21st Congressional District Rep. Paul Tonko a former member of the New York State Assembly, weighs in on transparency versus productivity in Washington as well as in Albany, and why one set of lawmakers is able to compromise while the other appears not to.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
OK, since we found out late yesterday that the numbers the Governor put out were actually for joint filers, I've put together what they'd look like for single filers. (Thanks, again, to Jimmy Vielkind forproviding the raw numbers here.)
In a sense, the tax change will be a true increase on those individuals making more than $1 million a year. Basically the final numbers look very similar to the plan floated by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to replace the current upper-income tax surcharge that you see below with a higher, permanent tax on wealthy New Yorkers.
Again, as it stands today, yes, the Governor and legislative leaders are in fact lowering taxes for everyone. But without this reconfiguring, you'd have a drop back to levels that everyone--regardless of which bracket--would had in 2009, a tax break for everyone making $200,000 a year or more.
Now, those making up to $150,000 get a break at the expense, in some ways, of those making $1 million a year or more. In other words, New York State will now have a true millionaires' tax.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Details are still emerging on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s tax overhaul that state legislators are expected to review either later this week, or early next. But the basic elements of an agreement, according to news reports, appears to have been reached.
The assiduous Nick Reisman at Capital Tonight reports that the administration will seek to expand the tax breaks to five new ones. Upper-income earners will get relief from the upper-income “millionaires’ tax” surcharge, but will pay more than what they would if rates were to reset to pre-surcharge levels at the end of the month. Middle income earners will, according to a number of reports, be looking at a tax cut.
According to Reisman, the new brackets would be:
- $40,000 and below
- $40,000 to $150,000
- $150,000 to $300,000
- $300,000 to $2 million
- $2 million and higher
Jimmy Veilkind at the Times-Union has a great review of current and potential tax brackets here, just as a reference. The tax plan would raise an estimated $1.9 billion for the state, which isn’t quite enough to fill that $3.5 billion hole Cuomo expects next year.
The economic package, as the Governor is pitching it, would also include some non-tax pieces according to Ken Lovett of the Daily News:
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
The Working Families Party is signaling its support for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s tax reform plans. Dan Cantor, the labor-backed political party’s executive director, said he felt the proposal was moving things in “a good direction.”
“It’s important that the tax reform package produce enough revenue,” Cantor said. “The $5 billion in the millionaires’ tax expiration, if it produces that much, it will allow us to both close the budget deficit, reverse some of the cuts and, more importantly as the Governor has pointed out, make these investments in jobs and growth.
“This is a chance for the Governor and the legislature to show that government is not controlled by the one percent.”
WFP has been a proponent of continuing a tax on higher income earners that’s set to sunset at the end of this month. But Cantor said this doesn’t indicate a reversal on the so-called millionaires’ tax for the Governor.
“Facts on the ground change, and people are correct to change their views when facts change,” said Cantor. “The fact is that the unemployment crisis is so enormous, both to individuals and whole communities, that something has to be done.”
Monday, December 05, 2011
By Karen DeWitt : NYS Public Radio/WXXI
Talks are taking place behind the scenes on changes to New York’s tax code that could result in the wealthy paying higher taxes. Governor Cuomo, who is asking for the changes, is also proposing a gambling expansion and other initiatives which he is asking the state legislature to consider later this week.
Monday, December 05, 2011
The following was sent to newspapers for publication across the state:
New York needs to enact a bold, innovative economic plan and tax code reform to create jobs at this difficult time. To achieve that we will need bipartisan political cooperation and a plan the people of the State support.
I believe economic development, popular support, and political consensus must all be built on the same foundation: fundamental fairness.
Last year, when we were preparing the state budget, I exposed that the system was inherently biased against the taxpayer. The very definition of the State's budget deficit included statutory annual increases for individualized programs marbleized through the State's budget laws. In short, "deficit" meant the amount necessary to fund a 13 percent increase. The taxpayer didn't have a chance.
Our current tax system is also unfair.
I have posed the following question to Albany veterans, befuddling almost all: at what income level does the State's top personal income tax rate become effective? Answers range from about $100,000 to $1 million. Virtually no one guesses the correct answer: only $20,000 for an individual taxpayer; and only $40,000 for a two-earner family. So, in New York under the permanent tax code, an individual making a taxable income of only $20,000 pays the same marginal tax rate as an individual making $20 million. It's just not fair. While New York's earned income tax credit, child care credit, and high standard deduction help working poor families, New York has left the middle class with an undue burden which also hinders our economic recovery.
Monday, December 05, 2011
Last week the State Assembly announced it would be conferencing tomorrow as it prepared to come back into session. State Senate Republicans plan to return on Wednesday to, as Scott Reif, spokesperson for the Majority put it, "discuss a number of issues, including our commitment to cutting taxes to create new private sector jobs."
All this adds up to the legislature likely starting a special session as the end of this week, and the agenda will likely be Governor Andrew Cuomo economic plan that will include major changes to how New Yorkers at various levels are taxed.
In an op-ed released over the weekend, the Governor offered a broad set of goals he said would "address the illness" facing the state's economy. The creation of a fund to help rebuild the state's infrastructure, the creation of "gaming locations" (you might know them as casinos) in New York State, and a targeted focus on urban youth employment issues were among the top of Cuomo's list of to-dos.
But what the legislature and Governor will likely be most focused on in the immediate future will be an overhaul of the tax code.
"[A]n effective way to stimulate the economy and promote job creation is through our tax system," Cuomo wrote. "We should pursue comprehensive reform of our tax code to make it fair, affordable and one that incentivizes economic growth."
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Governor Andrew Cuomo is set for another two-fer this morning, hitting up the Fred Dicker show on WGDJ 1300 AM in Albany at about 10:07 am this morning. You can listen in here.
After that he'll be on Susan Arbetter's "The Capitol Pressroom" program which you can listen to as a live stream here on the Empire. That'll be shortly after 11:00 am.
The Governor likes to double down on radio appearances, usually indicating something big is happening, or, more than likely in this case, that his administration's message is being distorted. I'm going to hazard to guess he'll be addressing the report in the Wall Street Journal this morning that his administration is looking to overhaul the tax code which may appear to be a back-door millionaires' tax plan. His administration is denying there's any such thing.
Of course, this may have been in the works for some time.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Capital New York's Azi Paybarah has a great rundown of the Democrat's state committee meeting this week. Governor Andrew Cuomo made an appearance, but left the major points of contention--hydrofracking and the millionaires' tax--unresolved for many in attendance.
Coming off a handful of victories in contested local elections around the state, Cuomo said the results affirmed the Democrats' positive view of the role of government.
"They had an argument that basically says, 'whatever the problem, it's caused by government,'" Cuomo said, sounding a lot like his father used to.
But "we argue the exact opposite. That government is posibility. Why? Because government is us, and we believe in us," he said, waving his right hand in a circle in front of the roomful of about 200 party members.
His last few lines were swallowed up by the applause in the room. One person let out a loud, approving whistle. After his speech, Cuomo slipped out the back of the hotel and into a black S.U.V. where, according to a reporter there, the governor ignored a question shouted to him.
Read the entire piece, which includes videos of the Governor's speech, here.
Friday, November 18, 2011
New York City wasn't the only site of Occupy protests yesterday. Karen DeWitt, New York Public Radio's Capitol Bureau Chief, reports on the events in Albany.
Hundreds of Occupy movement members from around the state descended on the State Capitol Thursday, chanting and voicing their disagreement with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s economic policies.
The protesters yesterday held a rally in Lafayette Park, across the street from the Capitol, before made their way inside the Capitol building, chanting “we are the 99 percent.” They ended up in Cuomo’s reception area known as the “war room.” The protesters vehemently disagree with a number of Cuomo positions, including extending a state tax on upper income earners that expires at the end of the year. Occupier Rosemary Rivera says Cuomo is paying too much attention to the needs of the rich, and not the rest.
“We need to educate our children, we need to maintain our public structures, we need to save our bridges,” she shouted.
“We need to put our people back to work,” she said, to cheers.
For the first time, the protesters also set their sights on the Republican-controlled State Senate. Rivera, in the call and response ritual known by Occupiers as “mike check”, says Senators are too beholden to the state’s Business lobby.
The state police presence was heavy, with dozens of extra officers stationed at key posts, including outside the governor’s door.
No one was detained, but the governor has said state police will continue to arrest those who try to remain on state land overnight.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares has refused to prosecute anyone arrested by the state police. He says as long as the demonstrations are peaceful, he won’t interfere and would rather use his time to go after more serious crimes.
Soares says his approach has been working so far. Up until Cuomo began ordering the arrests, the demonstrators spend three weeks camping peacefully on city land. He says Albany has been a contrast to other cities, like Oakland, California, where an aggressive police and prosecutorial crackdown has led to a backlash.
“Watching Oakland, if the decision makers had an opportunity to do it all over again they would not have done what they in fact did,” said Soares.
There have been calls for Cuomo to appoint a special prosecutor to supersede Soares authority, and the governor has not ruled that out. The DA says he won’t argue if that occurs.
“That’s certainly within the prerogative of the executive, and we would respect that decision,” said Soares, but he says he thinks local authorities know best how to handle the demonstrators.
Governor Cuomo was in Albany but did not engage the protesters.
Monday, November 14, 2011
In a radio interview with Capitol Press Room's Susan Arbetter, Governor Andrew Cuomo stated in no uncertain terms that the new gaps in the budget wouldn't be resolved by extending the millionaires' tax.
"That's my position," Cuomo stated, eluding to his opposition to extending the tax without saying so directly. "Im trying to deal with the hole we have today."
That hole means an additional billion or so dollar gap in next year's budget, and a $350 million shortfall in this year's. The Governor said today's budget report numbers weren't set in stone, but that concrete steps would need to be taken soon. But, for now, he said things will be looked at as provisional.
"I am not taking any dramatic action on these numbers," Cuomo said.
Monday, November 14, 2011
The state's budget division just released its midyear fiscal report--two weeks later than expected--and as anticipated the reports doesn't have a lot of good news. Here's how the statement from the budget office characterized the situation:
Weak and unsettled economic conditions around the world -- illustrated by the Eurozone financial crisis, volatility in the financial markets, and persistently disappointing data on employment, consumer confidence, and income -- have darkened the State's fiscal outlook. The significant positive receipts results early in the fiscal year have been largely eroded as the economy weakened in the summer months. With the prospect of a weak bonus season on Wall Street, even more negative pressure is being placed on the State's receipts outlook.
Next year's budget gap has been revised upwards from about $2 billion to possibly as high as $3.5 billion. This is still nowhere near the $10 billion gap from last year, but it's not the direction anyone would like to see the State's finances headed.
Then there's a $350 million gap that's emerged this year. Governor Andrew Cuomo, according to the release, is looking to implement a plan for closing the gap. This could require breaking the legislature back to a special session. Either way, you can anticipate the calls for continuing to tax higher income earners to piggyback on this news.
The question is whether or not this report will be the thing that changes the Governor's mind. The report is after the jump.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
EJ McMahon of the Manhattan Institute has an interesting op-ed in today's New York Post. He goes after Governor Andrew "The Government" Cuomo for blowing by a set of legally mandated budget reviews. Something's fishy about the whole thing for McMahon--and, to be honest, with many reporters--since the argument that volatility in European markets just doesn't make a lot of sense.
[The Division of the Budget] has coped with even more uncertainty in the recent past. In fall 2001, the budget agency under Gov. George Patakimanaged to issue a financial plan update less than 10 days after the attack on the World Trade Center. In the midst of a full-blown Wall Street panic in fall 2008, with David Paterson barely settled in the governor’s office, it issued its mid-year update two days early. In 2009, as stock-market volatility rose toward record highs, the mid-year report was right on schedule.
So what gives, Gov? In conversations with people involved in the budget process, some directly, there has been a calm reciting of the same reasons the governor has given for the delay. There was no reason, I was told, to be alarmed.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
It is already evident that the New York City school system will figure prominently in the race for mayor in 2013, both in terms of policies and in union and other support. But now The New York Post, in a blind item on Page Six, is trying to entice a full-out education person to run: Merryl H. Tisch, the chancellor of the state's Board of Regents.
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in on the nation's fiscal issues this morning at an event in Washington, DC this morning, saying the economy was hamstrung by Federal policies that refused to tackle, in earnest, the nation's debt and deficit issues.
"There is widespread recognition in the business community that we have to make big changes – now – or risk having big changes thrust upon us in the form of further credit downgrades, high inflation, or unacceptably severe austerity that would harm the most vulnerable Americans," the Mayor said in his remarks at the event co-sponsored by the Center for American Progress and the American Action Forum.
"But so long as the Federal government continues running huge deficits, and engaging in kabuki dances every few months about how to fix them, business leaders will be less likely to make major long-term investments that would produce jobs."
The mayor called on the Federal lawmakers to embrace cuts to entitlements and tort reform, as well as ending the Bush-era tax cuts and the closing of tax loopholes. Bloomberg said he supported embracing the Erskine-Bowles commission's proposal, which would, among other things, raise the retirement age for Social Security.
"When you look at Social Security’s underlying numbers, the need for reform is undeniable – especially when you consider that one of every two children born today is likely to live to be more than 100 years old," Bloomberg said. "That’s great news for the next generation. But to support their retirements, we’re going to have to adjust."
The Mayor also said he originally supported temporarily extending the tax, but that the time had come to let the tax cuts expire.
"Opponents will yell and scream about taxes and cuts destroying the economy. But the same people said the same thing in 1993, when President Clinton and Congress adopted those rates as part of a major deficit reduction plan. And I think everyone would agree that turned out pretty well," the Mayor said.
Bloomberg used the opportunity to voice his support for Governor Andrew Cuomo's refusal to extend a surcharge tax on upper-income earners in New York. He echoed the Governor's logic that a New York-only tax on wealth places the state at a competitive disadvantage.
“Not only is it class warfare that divides us when we need uniting, but I think Governor Cuomo is exactly right that a millionaire’s tax will lead people and businesses to leave New York or grow in other places – and we just can’t afford that," the Mayor said.
In the end, Bloomberg said, the measures he outlined would save the US $8 trillion and would balance the budget by 2021.
Friday, November 04, 2011
Update at the bottom.
It’s possibly the biggest issue facing Governor Andrew Cuomo heading into the next legislative session: the so-called “millionaires’” tax. Cuomo has held his ground against a growing chorus—including the leader of the Assembly, Speaker Sheldon Silver—that’s making the Governor’s opposition a real issue. The Occupation movement has changed everything, pitting the Democratic governor against protesters who are backed by major public support for extending the tax.
But there are three good reasons why Cuomo won’t back down—and a big one that could change his mind.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Marist Poll put out a new survey today that adds a wrinkle to the Occupation movement. According to the poll, New York voters support Occupy Wall Street more than the Tea Party, 44 percent versus 21 percent. It should be noted that, inversely, a majority of voters don't support either, although 54 percent said OWS comes closer to their views. The poll also is underrepresented by Democrats, only representing 44 percent of those polled, while, statewide, the Dems have 49 percent of active registered voters.
All that aside, what's really interesting is that, while the Occupation continues to enjoy (relative) support, their strategy so far of not having an overt agenda leaves them with little influence in voters eyes. Nearly half--the plurality--felt the Tea Party will have more influence in the coming presidential elections than the Occupation.
“Not surprisingly, there is substantial support for the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York State as compared to the Tea Party movement,” Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, said in a statement. “However, when it comes to the potential political impact of the two groups for campaign '12, New Yorkers believe the Tea Party movement has the advantage.”
Maybe that's why Governor Andrew Cuomo can continue to oppose extending a surcharge on higher-income earners (despite his tense relationship with the Albany Occupation), even as voters continue to support by large majorities an extension of the measure. More than 60 percent of voters in the Marist poll said they, too, support a "millionaires' tax."
Thursday, October 27, 2011
The last time the Governor received an awardfor helping same-sex marriage legislation become law, protesters from Occupy Wall Street showed up and turned the coverage of the event more towards the arrest of Naomi Wolf than the Governor.
As of yet, there’s no sign that there’s an organized plan to protest the Governor’s acceptance of the Empire State Pride Agenda’s Douglas W. Jones Leadership Award. If they fail to show, it would be a good day for the Governor. He’s gotten some political cover from Speaker Sheldon Silver—the only leader left in Albany who supports extending the millionaires’ tax.
The Governor’s bifurcated governing strategy—social liberalism with economic centrism—has been looked at lately, and tonight’s award ceremony will continue to burnish the Governor’s standing as a leader in civil rights. I mean, Sir Elton John’s even giving the Governor props.
This, despite the growing focus of Occupiers on the Governor’s economic policies, specifically said millionaires’ tax. Then again, his stance doesn’t seem to be hurting his poll numbers. So if you’re position doesn’t leave you politically broken…
Thursday, October 27, 2011
It's A Free Country's Anna Sale caught up with the man who might be proponents of continuing the tax on higher-income earners--the "millionaires' tax"--best bet.
But that doesn't mean Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is looking to march with the Occupiers any time soon:
"I don't consider them political allies," Speaker Silver said at a press conference at his Manhattan office on Thursday. "I think they make a point. Clearly they highlight a point of frustration among Americans."
Silver had a conference call with reporters later in the day, as well, where he reportedly defended the Governor against some of the negative sentiments of the protesters. The Occupy Wall Street protesters are encamped in Silver's district and the Speaker hasn't been too happy about it.
Putting distance between himself and the protesters likely helps the Governor, who opposes continuing the taxes. Speaker Silver has said he won't jeopardize the budget process over keeping the taxes, essentially giving up the one tool he had to force the issue.
It appears, at least for now, that the Occupy movement is without a true champion when it comes to the millionaires' tax.