Governor Cuomo: "This is a Congress that has consistently sought to divide the American people."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was a guest on NPR Morning Edition with Steve Inskeep to discuss the devastating impact of GOP tax plan.
AUDIO is available here.
A rush transcript is available below.
Steve Inskeep: Now in this country a federal tax bill that's getting closer to become law would affect different people differently, not just based on what you earn but also on where you live. The measure takes away a federal tax deduction for paying state and local income taxes. If you live in a city and state with no income taxes, you're not affected. But you are affected if you live in a state that has them like New York State, where Andrew Cuomo is the Democratic governor, who is on the line on this day, his sixtieth birthday. Governor, happy birthday.
Governor Cuomo: Thank you very much, Steve. 6-0. It's serious now, Steve.
Steve Inskeep: It's pretty serious. Let's talk about this tax bill. Why is losing this deduction so bad?
Governor Cuomo: Well it cripples, economically, the states that are affected. Now it's New York, it's California, it's 12 other states. They all happen to be blue states, Democratic states, with no representation in the Senate and very little in the House, and what this is doing is basically hurting the economies of those states to finance the tax cut in other states. New York, California, financed through a property tax and an income tax. Right now, that is deductible from your federal taxes. When they eliminate that deduction, they in essence raise your property tax and income tax by 20, 25 percent.
Steve Inskeep: But let me just ask you, and I should clarify, when you say that your states have no representation, what you mean is no Republican representation. That was relevant since Republicans are doing all the business here. Doesn't what you're saying just underline that New York is a high tax state? Maybe it should be a lower tax state.
Governor Cuomo: New York is a high tax state, yes, and this is a Republican Conservative Congress that for many years argued states rights, argued against redistribution. But yes, California, New York are high tax states. We have governments. We believe in providing social services and free college tuition et cetera and that's a decision our states have made. And we balance that economically. I understand the competitiveness, and we've lowered taxes in New York while I've been Governor because we compete with Florida and Texas et cetera. But that is how we finance our government. Other states also raise revenue. But they do it in different ways, value added tax, real estate tax. We happen to have a property tax and an income tax. New York and California, also as a matter of equity, Steve, happen to be the largest donor states in the nation.
Steve Inskeep: Sure.
Governor Cuomo: New York is the single largest donor state. We put in $48 billion more every year then we get back from Washington.
Steve Inskeep: Goes to other states. I want to follow up on that.
Governor Cuomo: We are already subsidizing every other state.
Steve Inskeep: It's true. I want to follow up on one detail of this though. The state and local tax deduction goes away, but at the same time the standard deduction that a lot of people take goes up. And when analysts make the calculation, it seems that somebody who's on the lower end of the income scale, a New York City bus driver, cop, any number of people, they're actually going to be better off, it's really only the well-off people, people making over a couple hundred thousand dollars a year, who are going to be paying more in taxes. Should we be that concerned?
Governor Cuomo: Well, your opening statement was right Steve. First of all this is a tax bill that doesn't treat everyone equally. In this tax bill there are going to be differences by state, which is just another divisive tactic in my opinion. This is a Congress that has consistently sought to divide the American people. In New York, where the property taxes and income taxes will go up in effect 20, 25 percent, you're going to be hard pressed to find the winner. And they're cutting the numbers many different ways Steve. Just remember this, nationwide, 50 percent of the benefit goes to the top 1 percent. 50 percent to the top 1 percent. This is the classic conservative theory, cut the taxes on the rich and the corporations, and the benefits will trickle down to the workers. This is not what they said during the campaign.
Steve Inskeep: Governor, one of the things, we've got about 40 seconds here, people who closely follow your career will know something distinctive about you. That you have mostly avoided national interviews like this one, and stayed really focused on New York State issues, working with New York State Republicans as well as Democrats. Here you are doing a national interview, which we're happy about, but it make me curious. Are you going to be speaking out more?
Governor Cuomo: My state is now faced with national issues. As you know Steve I spent eight years in Washington during the Clinton administration, and being involved in national issues brings a different facet to the governor's position, and I'm focused on my state. But my state is now virtually locked with national issues. This tax reform bill will be transformative in a negative way. New York, California, the 12 Democratic states are going to pay the highest price.
Steve Inskeep: Governor, thanks very much, pleasure talking with you.
Governor Cuomo: Thank you, Steve.