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Critics: Cuomo Should Cut State Tax Instead Of Worrying About Federal Tax Plan Effects

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo is doing whatever is necessary to protect New Yorkers from increased federal taxes.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Cuomo also answered critics who charge that governor should start at home by cutting state taxes.

The state Capitol in Albany may look benign in the winter – but don't underestimate the big kahuna who rules the roost. Cuomo said he is going to stop the feds from making New Yorkers pay more in taxes, and he means it.

"I'm in favor of anything, and open to anything, that gets us out of the crosshairs of the federal government," Cuomo said.

On Wednesday, the New York State Tax Department issued a report offering a raft of workraounds. They include:

• Restoring the deductibility of real estate and local taxes on New York returns.

• Increasing the state's standard deduction;

• Changing the income tax to a payroll tax;

• Allowing taxpayers to make charitable contributions to the state instead of paying taxes.

And if the IRS tries to stop him, Cuomo said he would fight it.

"If we come up with a way not to pay, I'm sure they'll attack it and they'll challenge it – and I have no problem with that," Cuomo said to Kramer. "I'm a Queens boy. I don't back down, Marcia – you know that. You know me a long time."

But there are those who say that instead of focusing on the loss of the so-called SALT issues – the deductibility of state and local taxes – Cuomo should also get his own house in order and cut spending and taxes on the state level.

"Here's a news flash for the governor, by the way," said state Assemblyman Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue). "The S in 'SALT' does not stand for 'federal.' It stands for 'state." That means it's in your hands Mr. Governor. We have the power to reduce the tax burden."

Murray points out that overall spending in the new budget is up by $4 billion.

"You know, if you got laid off from your job, you don't go out and buy a new car, OK?" Murray said. "You tighten your belt and you live within your means."

Cuomo rebutted: "I have the lowest spending increases of any governor in modern history. My spending has gone up no more than 2 percent every year. That's never happened before. I have a middle class tax cut in this budget from $0 to $300,000 in income, which is a big middle class; lowest tax rate since 1947."

The Tax Department also has some troubling findings. If the Legislature does not restructure the tax code, the unintended consequence could be that while New Yorkers pay more to the feds, the state could get richer – collecting millions in additional revenue.


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