2:16 pm Dec. 6, 2011
This morning, a City Council committee passed a resolution in support of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s tax reform plan, even though as of this morning, it had yet to be fully fleshed out.
That apparently made the lone Republicans on the committee, both from Staten Island, uncomfortable.
“I’m not sure, quite frankly, how rational it is for us to vote on a resolution when the governor hasn't finalized his package,” said Councilman Jimmy Oddo, the legislative body’s minority leader.
“I just think that what we're doing here is premature and I'm going to wait to see what the final package is before I put my name on it,” he added.
Oddo’s Republican colleague, Vincent Ignizio, said, "I think what's really transpiring here today is more of a Seinfeld episode. It's a meeting about nothing, because we don't have anything in front of us.”
The majority Democrats didn't think that was funny.
“I have a lot of respect for Vincent Ignizio but I disagree with your comments,” said Domenic Recchia, the Gravesend-based chair of the Committee on Finance. "Number one, this is not politically motivated. I am not Jerry Seinfeld."
His voice rose in anger.
"If you think helping the people and the taxpayers of the City of New York is politically motivated, then you’re wrong."
The committee ended up voting 13 to 2 in support of the resolution, sponsored by Progressive Caucus members like Jumaane Williams, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Brad Lander, was well as Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
The resolution “supports the Governor’s and Legislature’s efforts to reform New York State’s tax code to allow for a fairer and more progressive distribution of the burden of taxation on New York City residents.” It also calls on the state to set aside a portion of the new tax revenue to be dedicated to education.
Shortly after 2 p.m., the governor's office issued a more fleshed-out version of its proposal, in the form of a joint statement from Cuomo and the leaders of the Assembly and Senate. The plan reduces rates for middle-class taxpayers and raises them for the state's highest earners, who will nevertheless no longer have to pay the "millionaire's tax" surcharge after it expires at the end of the year.
Not taking the millionaire's tax into account, the leaders say the new tax scheme will increase revenues for the state by $1.9 billion.
Ignizio and Oddo said it was still too soon to comment on the merits of the actual plan.
"I just got out of presser and I am just now going through the details of the big budget announcement," said Oddo, via email, at around 3:30 pm. "I will reserve final judgement until I understand the particulars, but the political junkie me keeps thinking 'Boy, I wish Andrew Cuomo ran the NY Mets.'"
Lander called the state plan "a good step forward." But he said that New York City's finances, which face a $2 billion budget gap, remain bleak.
"For the city, the situation is substantially more dire," he said.