Andrew Cuomo begins the public search for a graceful way out of a tax pledge

andrew-cuomo-begins-public-search-graceful-way-out-tax-pledge
Michael Bloomberg. (spencer t. tucker via flickr)
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"Read Andrew's Lips" has been a constant feature of the New York Post editorial page for weeks now, a reminder (and implicit warning) to the governor, and everyone else, that he has committed to kill a high-earner tax.

Cuomo's acknowledgment today that he's considering an overhaul of the tax code which could include tax increases on the rich will not go unnoticed by the Post or anyone else, is the point.

I spoke to a few Democrats who hope Cuomo's remarks today mean that he is looking for a way around the fact that he is now standing by a promise that was popular when he first made it, and is now less so. In the lede of their story on the governor's delicate repositioning, the News used an even more unambiguous lede, stating flatly, "Gov. Cuomo may be getting ready to go back on his no new taxes pledge."

WNYC's Colby Hamilton earlier laid out what it might take for Cuomo to reverse himself. Today, Hamilton notes that Cuomo is portraying himself as someone trying to make sure Albany avoids the kind of partisan gridlock that's frozen Washington.

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Clearly, Cuomo will have to find a way to make the tax code more progressive that is more subtle (or incomprehesibly complicated) than raising taxes on rich New Yorkers. Look for lots of new brackets and tiers and other things that end up producing something that administration can present as a tax break for the middle class without costing the state revenue. Just don't call it a millionaire's tax.

Some links:

Independent voters in the suburbs prefer Mitt Romney to Barack Obama, according to a new poll. [Hofstra]

One of the co-executive directors of Make the Road NY is leaving in April to lead a new national organization called The Center for Popular Democracy. [Roberto Perez]

John Faso is headlining a fund-raiser for Republican congressional candidate Randy Altschuler in NY-01. [Celeste Katz]

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is filing charges against ten gun dealers who sold weapons to undercover agents who made it clear they wouldn't pass a background check. [Rick Karlin]

State officials are extending the public comment period on franking until January 11. [Colby Hamilton]

"Gov. Cuomo may be getting ready to go back on his no new taxes pledge." [Ken Lovett]

Cuomo refused to rule out higher taxes for the rich, but he also spoke at length about needing to avoid the kind of "gridlock" that's stymied action in Washington. [Colby Hamilton]

A judge's decision to review a lawsuit filed by opponents of the state's new same-sex-marriage law is really a review of the state's open meeting laws, which were once rewritten to prevent Fred Dicker from attending a Democratic meeting. [Liz Benjamin]

"Trying to offer some idea of the scope of New York's workforce, Bloomberg got a bit carried away with himself." [David Seifman]

Bloomberg still has nice things to say about City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, despite her filing a lawsuit against his administration. [Associated Press]

Howard Wolfson "is a bureaucrat." [David Freedlander]

Here are some of the top questions asked at Ask.com: "Is Michele Bachmann crazy?" "Where can i find Twitter pics?" [Metro]