A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen, philosophers, and divines — or so thought Ralph Emerson.
Is that the proper context for viewing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sudden embrace of a plan that would cut middle-class tax rates, while boosting taxes on the wealthy next year?
The Democrat released an opinion piece for newspapers Monday, building a case for revision of tax brackets and rules to make it “fairer” after decades of inaction. His proposal, major elements of which are still being negotiated with legislative leaders, drew immediate praise and rebuke.
“It is the end of the dominance of the anti-tax message politically,” said Richard Brodsky, a former assemblyman from Westchester who is now a senior fellow at the Wagner School at New York University. “It’s a master stroke from Cuomo in that he doesn’t just solve New York’s problems, he now gets into a national conversation about bipartisanship and fairness in the economy. … This will change national debate.”
Others saw a flip-flop.
“This is just painting a distorted picture of the current and past tax system in order to justify what he’s doing,” said E.J. McMahon of the fiscally conservative Manhattan Institute. “He wants to increase taxes for wealthier New Yorkers, so he is inventing this narrative.”
You can read Gov. Cuomo’s public letter on all this here. He appears to cut to the chase in this passage:
Simply put, to me “fairness” dictates that the more you make the more you pay and the higher your income the higher your rate. Also, you should be treated the same as people with similar incomes and differently from people who make significantly more, or significantly less, than you earn.
I would create multiple brackets and rates increasing on a graduated basis throughout and indexed to inflation. I would add more income brackets for the middle income and add high end brackets. The actual rate span should be several points from low to high.
So what do you think? Does New York need a new tax system, one that shifts a bit more of the burden to high-end wage earners? Is the current system, as the governor argues, unfair? Comments welcome below.