Governor Andrew Cuomo says his proposed spending plan for 2013 does not raise taxes. But that claim is being disputed by some lawmakers. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman explains.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- For the third year in a row, Governor Andrew Cuomo has submitted a budget plan that closes a deficit without raising any new taxes.
Cuomo said, “We don't need new taxes. I think if we went with new taxes this year, I think if we went with new taxes this year we would have seriously interrupted the progress we had been making.”
But the governor's $142.6 billion proposal does renew some taxes that are due to expire at the end of the year. Revenue will also be generated by expanding the video lottery game Quick Draw and by closing a variety of tax loopholes. Whether an expiring tax can be counted as a tax increase may be in the eye of the beholder.
“It’s semantics, but in my opinion, they’re tax increases because if my taxes were supposed to expire, go down if you will, and less money is coming out of my pocket, in my view, that’s a form of a tax increase. That’s how I would view it,” said Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin.
Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are concerned of the impact of some of the renewed taxes on business, such as an assessment on utilities.
“Whether you call it a new tax or an extension of an old tax, I think is academic or a matter of semantics. But the real question is how we can get rid of that I believe because it’s just another burden on businesses,” said Senate Finance Committee chairman John DeFrancisco.
There are provisions in the budget aimed at helping the private sector. That includes extending the film tax credit, a historic rehabilitation tax credit and the creation of tax-free zones to spur high-tech innovation. There's also an effort to tamp down on unemployment and workers compensation costs, though Cuomo is also proposing to move money from the state insurance fund over a period of years to the general fund, causing some concern for lawmakers.
“I have many questions about whether a $2 billion sweep going into the general fund is really the best use of money when we so really need to adjust our workers compensation system,” said State Senator Liz Kruger.
The governor has a number of so called off budget revenue sources as well. That includes a plan to adopt a system of public financing for political campaigns without using taxpayer money. So far, that proposal is yet to be spelled out.