Cuomo confirms he’s rethinking the tax code, but not ‘breathlessly’

Andrew Cuomo addresses reporters. (Azi Paybarah)
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In what might be the longest single interview of Andrew Cuomo's tenure as governor (or attorney general, for that matter), he told New York Post state editor Fred Dicker on the radio this morning that the administration is considering a broad array of possible changes to the state's tax code. 

"We are discussing how to use the tax code to create jobs," Cuomo said.

Dicker pressed him on a Wall Street Journal report this morning that the administration is considering changes to the state's personal income tax, which would raise the rate paid by the highest earners, and lower the rate for the lowest earners.

Cuomo criticized the tenor of the report, but did not deny it was one possibility.

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"There is a breathless quality that I think is misplaced. I am talking to the leading economic people in this nation on a daily basis," he said, adding that the conversations covered a lot of different thoughts and ideas. "Many of the suggestions have to do with the tax code, because it's one of the main instrumentalities that you have."

Cuomo has steadfastly opposed a millionaire's tax—a position he re-stated this morning—and Dicker playfully reminded him of his quote about not raising taxes, which has been featured on the New York Post's editorial page for weeks.

"I think maybe if you check the New York Post tomorrow they might run it again," Dicker joked.

Cuomo said stimulating the private sector is "an art form in itself," and that he's still deciding what type of plan to propose for next year's budget. He made clear that he was listening to all options.

"Some ideas are bizarre, some are interesting, some are unproven. There's a full range," he said.

Near the end of the interview, there was this:

DICKER: Just to be clear, are you saying that you have not yet decided on whether you will be seeking an increase in taxes, or are you ruling out an increase in taxes?

CUOMO: I have not decided on the economic program for the state, part of which will be how do you use the tax code to create jobs. I am in discussions. I have ideas, people have ideas, but we have no decisions.

DICKER: Any thoughts about using the tax code to raise revenues to close a $3 billion-plus budget deficit?

CUOMO: We are discussing ideas on how do you use the tax code to create private sector jobs.

DICKER: But not to close the deficit?

CUOMO: Well, I don't do it the way that you do it. I do it first as an economic plan, coincidental with the economic plan—

DICKER: No, no, no.

CUOMO: —you have to do a budget.

DICKER: Hold on, governor. In the budget, with all due respect, the budget, which is a fiscal statement to say where revenues are coming from and—I don't think you can book private-sector jobs still to be created as a source of revenue. If you do, I think there is going to be a great deal of skepticism from the readers, to say the least.

CUOMO: And next year I have to present a plan for a balanced budget.