Sunday, December 21, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: The Tax Battle Cometh

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Gov. Cuomo yesterday headed out to tax-hobbled Long Island to promise state residents that help is on its way, promoting plans to reduce property, business and estate taxes.

In a year that state lawmakers are up for re-election, it's not a bad bet that some of Cuomo's agenda will get passed but there are concerns that there are not enough anti-tax gadgets in the governor's bag for city residents. Realizing that property tax relief won't help millions of apartment-dwellers, Cuomo also talked about creating a "renter's credit."

Still, Kathy Wylde, who heads the pro-business Partnership for New York City, questioned whether the city is getting shortchanged by the governor, noting: "New York City is the primary source of surplus state revenue but New York City residents do not directly benefit from the commission's proposed use of $1 billion of this surplus for property tax reductions for suburban and upstate New Yorkers."

While the state income tax isn't the focus of Cuomo and his tax commission, the report contains a recommendation that the top rate -- which affects those who make more than $1 million a year -- gets reduced from 8.82 percent to 6.85 percent. This serves as a potential headache for Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who's hoping that Cuomo and state lawmakers approve his plan to raise taxes on city residents making more than $500,000 a year. But it would be odd for Cuomo to cut taxes on the wealthy with one hand and raise them with the other.

All of this hand-wringing would be potentially encouraging news for the State Republican Party – if it had a candidate for governor and a way to offset Cuomo's massive campaign warchest. In the meantime, all this tax talk could turn into an internal Democratic squabble with Cuomo's re-election plans hurdling toward a head-on collision with de Blasio's hopes of making a big splash in his first month in office.

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