Friday, November 4, 2011

Fight over millionaire's tax in US

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, opens the door for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, after a state budget meeting in his office at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., Friday, March 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Gov. Cuomo opens the door for Sheldon Silver.

ALBANY — The fight over a millionaire’s tax promises to pit Gov. Cuomo against many of his fellow Democrats in what could be the first major spat in his gubernatorial honeymoon.

The popular governor, whose poll numbers are sky-high, is dead-set against the tax, while Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and a majority of surveyed New Yorkers favor the special levy.

“Lots of Democrats feel very strongly about this issue,” said Baruch College’s Doug Muzzio. “Clearly there’s a potential for a rift. It’s already begun to happen. It’s going to be a problem.”

Cuomo yesterday dismissed such dire predictions.

He said Democrats were aware of his no-new-taxes pledge when they nominated him for governor.

And he shrugged off the notion that there is more pressure for the tax now given the Occupy Wall Street movement and the lobbying by Democratic lawmakers and union groups.

He said the slumping economy has people scared — but that won’t get him to rethink his opposition to the tax.

“I get the fear and frustration that’s out there. I really do,” he said.

And with the state facing a $2.4 billion deficit that threatens to get worse, Cuomo chided people for calling for more taxes before even knowing the exact fiscal outlook.

“Before you can have an opinion about how to handle the budget, you’d think somebody would want to know the numbers,” he said.

Cuomo has support from legislative Republicans in his battle against the millionaire’s tax, which is currently on the books and set to expire at the end of the year. 

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