Cuomo predicts state budget surplus

ALBANY, NY (TIP): “There will be, what is in essence, a surplus for next year, if we hold the line on spending, which we have thus far,” Mr. Cuomo said in a radio interview. “If we continue our spending discipline, we project that we’ll have revenue that we can use for a tax cut.” But the governor said he is not interested in cutting personal income taxes, despite a recent report that a taxreform commission created by Mr. Cuomo and co-chaired by former Gov. George Pataki was preparing to recommend that. “We just did the [personal income tax] last year,” Mr. Cuomo said on the Capitol Pressroom, referring to the overhaul of the state’s tax code in December 2011 that defused the raucous debate over the reauthorization of the so-called “millionaires tax” and at the same time added revenue to balance the budget.

“I have no interest in reopening the personal income tax discussion since we just redid it,” he reiterated. “I do want to focus on the property tax.” Mr. Pataki’s commission is expected to release its report in early December, including a recommendation to cut taxes on high-income earners, which peak at 8.82%, one of the highest rates in the nation. In January, the governor will release his budget priorities for the upcoming legislative session and is expected to sketch out his own taxcutting proposals. New Yorkers, especially suburbanites and upstate residents, pay among the highest property taxes in the country. Mr. Cuomo persuaded lawmakers in 2011 to cap the annual increase in property tax rates at 2%, subject to overrides by voters in the school districts and counties that impose those taxes.

Mr. Cuomo foresees taxes as the main issue for next year’s legislative session. Adding another layer of intrigue: Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said Monday he plans to “mount a strong, consistent fight” for a New York City-specific, fiveyear income-tax increase on those who earn $500,000 or more annually to pay for universal prekindergarten and afterschool programs. Asked how he will square that effort with Mr. Cuomo’s desire to reduce taxes, Mr. de Blasio alluded to the governor’s apparent desire to help average New Yorkers, not wealthy ones. “There is a clear dialogue going on in terms of reducing state taxes, and I think that is the governor’s prerogative,” Mr. de Blasio said Monday, November 25, at Columbia University. “That’s a different area of endeavor than what I’m talking about.”

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