Governor Cuomo: "This is what happens when Washington passes a bill in the dead of night and doesn't vet it with the public. They called it a tax cut. It's not a tax cut for New Yorkers, Californians, people who live in blue states, Democratic states. It's basically a tax increase."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo appeared on MSNBC with Katy Tur to discuss the devastating impacts of the GOP tax bill and the emergency executive order signed by the Governor on Friday to deliver property tax deductibility for New Yorkers. More information on the executive order is available here.
A rush transcript of the interview is available below.
Katy Tur: Joining us now to help make sense of what in the world is going on, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. He signed an executive order last week allowing New Yorkers to prepay their 2018 school and property taxes so that they can deduct them on their 2017 return. When you, Governor, first of all, thank you very much for joining us.
Governor Cuomo: Thank you.
Katy Tur: When you saw the tax bill pass and you saw the confusion that it's elicited among the many people in your state, the executive order, how does that exactly help them in the wake of this IRS news that property tax prepayments are going to be capped?
Governor Cuomo: Yeah, it's not that confusing. It's a scramble. This is what happens when Washington passes a bill in the dead of night and doesn't vet it with the public. They called it a tax cut. It's not a tax cut for New Yorkers, Californians, people who live in blue states, Democratic states. It's basically a tax increase. What they did was they financed a tax cut for the rich and the corporations at the expense of the blue states. One of the ways they did that was by eliminating the deductibility of state and local taxes. Which in New York, California, the blue states, is significant. As soon as the President signed the tax bill, I signed an emergency order saying that New Yorkers could prepay their property taxes so they get the deduction this year. Most of the local governments are being cooperative. The reason why it's a scramble is we only had about 10 days to prepay. Local governments need to do their final budget so they have an assessment, so they can issue a warrant. What you are referring to is, the IRS said you can only prepay if you know what the amount is. So the local governments had to come up with the actual amount of what next year's taxes would be and then New Yorkers had to go make those payments before December 31.
Katie Tur: Under New York
Governor Cuomo: And that's the rush that you're seeing.
Katie Tur: Got it. Under New York law, weren't New Yorkers already allowed to prepay their taxes?
Governor Cuomo: In some areas, you could. In some areas you couldn't, but there was no reason to prepay because it was always deductible.
Katie Tur: Got it.
Governor Cuomo: What this federal bill says is it's no longer deductible so you have to prepay.
Katie Tur: Yeah, when you look at the tax plan, you basically have said that this is the GOP revenge on blue states. You have no Republican senators here in New York and in other states that this is going to affect largely. Given that, do you have any recourse as Governor of New York to try and challenge this bill? This law?
Governor Cuomo: Well, look, first of all, the whole bill, put the political spin aside for a moment, okay? The whole bill was a bait and switch. they started by saying we're going to help the middle class. The bill comes out, it's a tax cut for the wealthy and for the rich corporations. And their rationale is we believe we're going to give the corporations a 15 percent windfall and we think they're going to pass that on in terms of higher wages to the workers. Maybe they do that or maybe they put it in their pocket. Maybe they dividend it out or maybe they buy a house in the south of France. If you actually wanted to make it go to higher wages for workers, you could have put that in the law. You could have said to corporations, look, we're giving you 15 percent, but we want you to pass that onto the workers by X. 10 percent, 5 percent, whatever. They didn't do that. It had nothing with helping the middle class. It was just a tax cut for the corporations and the rich. How did they finance it? By going to the blue states that they don't represent and using them as a piggy bank. That is exactly what they did. I have questions as to the legality of it. It would be like me passing a state law saying republicans pay one tax rate, a higher tax rate, and the democrats pass a lower tax rate. That's what they did on a nationwide basis.
Katy Tur: So how do you challenge that?
Governor Cuomo: They said look, we don't represent in
Katy Tur: How do you challenge that?
Governor Cuomo: We're doing the legal research now to see if there is a legal challenge. I think it may very well violate the due process and equal protection laws. It is the most egregious political act I have seen. Not since the civil war have you seen the states this divided. And it was done quickly. It was done without any public review. And now you're seeing the backlash. It doesn't make any sense from a national point of view either because if you want to stimulate the nationwide economy, why would you send a dagger to the heart of New York and California? Two of the biggest states and two of the biggest economic engines.
Katy Tur: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo—Governor, thank you so much for joining us. happy new year to you.
Governor Cuomo: You too. Happy holidays.
Katy Tur: Thank you.