Sunday, March 19, 2017
Andrew Cuomo’s ‘middle class’ con job
Gov. Cuomo says Democrats lost the presidential race last November because they ignored middle-class voters. His answer? Don’t ignore them — lie to them.
No joke. The state Democratic Party, which he controls, is shelling out bundles of cash on ads that falsely claim his budget lowers taxes for middle-income New Yorkers: “Gov. Cuomo . . . has proposed the Middle Class Recovery Act,” says the spot. “He’s fighting for tax cuts for middle-class families.”
“Middle Class Recovery Act” is pure fiction. In fact, his budget proposes no changes to middle-class tax rates. No New Yorkers at all would see their income taxes drop even a cent more than without the plan, though some will benefit from tax cuts passed last year.
What the gov’s budget does do is impose a new tax on millionaires. Does Cuomo think middle-class voters’ lives will be better just because he’s squeezing the rich?
And Cuomo’s ad says nothing about the hike. Rather, it claims he’s trying to stop “tax breaks” for “multimillionaires.”
Huh? No one’s proposing tax breaks for anyone. Yes, under current law, a 2009 surcharge on millionaires expires at year’s end. (This, when it was originally to die in 2011.) But that’s hardly a “tax break.”
Cuomo also says his hike is needed to “pay for” last year’s middle-class cuts. Huh?
Sorry: If not enough cash is coming in, the state has plenty of spending to cut. Besides, as Empire Center fiscal expert E.J. McMahon notes, Cuomo’s hike would raise far more revenue than even he plans to spend.
Voters abandoned Cuomo’s party not only because they felt ignored, but also because they were sick of Democrats’ snake oil — including the kind Cuomo’s pitching now.
His fibbing may work in deep blue New York. But if he plans to run for president one day, he’d be wise not just to focus on middle-class folks, but to be honest with them, too.