Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in two radio appearances this morning that he would be open to changes in the tax code, which could mean higher taxes on the wealthy.
Mr. Cuomo made the appearances following a report in the Wall Street Journal this morning. Jacob Gershman wrote that Mr. Cuomo was looking at the possibility of raising taxes on the wealthy while lowering it for others.
"How can you use the tax code to simulate the creation of private-sector jobs?" Mr. Cuomo said on Fred Dicker's show this morning. He added later on Susan Arbetter's show, The Capitol Pressroom, that he has not yet made up his mind on whether that's feasible.
The state is dealing with a widening budget gap next year, estimated at $3.5 billion and growing. Mr. Cuomo and legislative leaders closed a $10 billion gap last year without raising any taxes, but the political and economic calculi appear to have changed.
Most Republicans remain steadfast in opposition to tax increases. The GOP controls the state Senate, and our two Republican senators over the past 10 months have repeatedly told me they're not open to higher taxes. They've said it so many times that I've considered not asking anymore, but given these recent developments, I might just have to ask again.
The Democratic-controlled state Assembly, meanwhile, is pushing for an extension of a personal income-tax surcharge that is scheduled to expire in a month. It currently hits individuals making more than $200,000, and households making more than $300,000.
A month before budget season, it appears that tax rates and school aid will be two of the top political battles next year.