Nov 06, 2011 6:28 AM GMT
Gov. Cuomo got it exactly right a couple of weeks ago when he said, “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.”
Why is this important?
Because New York’s policy kleptocracy -- including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the union-front Working Families Party -- are pressing the governor hard to double-cross the electorate.
Specifically, they want him to reverse course and endorse renewing the “millionaires tax” before it expires on Dec. 31.
That the WFP is leading this campaign normally would be entirely predictable, save for one thing: When the party endorsed Cuomo for governor last year, its executive committee voted unanimously to support not just his candidacy but also his economic agenda. And that agenda, Cuomo repeatedly made clear, included the expiration of the current “high-earners” tax surcharge -- the so-called millionaire’s tax.
As WFP leader Dan Cantor said at the time (fingers crossed, no doubt): “We understand and accept Andrew’s point that this is a pivotal moment in the history of this state, similar to the 1975 New York City fiscal crisis, when leaders in the labor, civic, business and political arena must put aside their individual agendas for the good of the entire state.”
Liar, liar, pants on fire. (OK, no surprise.)
Actually, we warned at the time that the WFP was not to be trusted. But Andrew Cuomo, willfully or otherwise, went for it.
Yet what Cantor said last year still holds true -- especially now, with a worsening budget deficit and Cuomo forced to ask all state agencies to lop off yet another 2.5 percent in spending, on top of earlier cuts.
And it’s also important to remember that what the WFP is demanding is a millionaires tax in name only -- it actually hits individuals making $200,000 a year and couples with $300,000 in income.
That, as even Sen. Chuck Schumer has noted, may seem like a fortune in much of the country, “but it doesn’t make you rich at all in New York” -- thanks in large part to the state’s crushing tax burden.
Until now, Cuomo has stood firm on the tax, even -- as essayist George Marlin noted in these pages yesterday -- comparing his position to his father’s principled opposition to the death penalty, though the public clamored for it.
“I’m not going to go back and forth with the political winds,” he’s said.
Let’s hope not.
Because the pressure most definitely is mounting. And we suspect the governor would prefer to avoid a showdown if possible.
But political peace can’t properly be bartered at the cost of New York’s economic future.
Stand firm, Andrew.