The Winter Months
The city’s Independent Budget Office has some ideas for incoming Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to boost revenue and save cash as he prepares to take the reins of City Hall.
As part of its annual wish list, the group has suggested boosting the city’s tax rate on alcohol–and adding new tax on wine–to rake in nearly $50 million in extra revenue a year.
Bill de Blasio may have overwhelmingly won the mayor’s race last night, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted today that everyone will have to wait to find out whether he will approve Mr. de Blasio’s signature proposal to tax the rich to fund universal pre-K and more after-school programs.
Comedian Lewis Black is back with another love letter to New York State–and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Earlier this morning, Speaker John Boehner and the U.S. House Republican leadership held a press conference to announce a new proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy and avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” or the steep set of spending cuts and tax increases that will arrive by the end of the year if a deficit deal is not reached. Specifically, Mr. Boehner’s plan would extend the current tax rates on everyone making less than $1 million a year, a sharp jump from President Barack Obama’s own counteroffer yesterday, which conceded a $400,000 ceiling. Mr. Obama had previously stood firm on allowing the tax cuts to expire for everyone making more than $250,000, a number that GOP lawmakers apparently found unacceptable.
“Our hope continues to be to reach an agreement with the president on a balanced approach that averts the fiscal cliff. What we’ve offered meets the definition of balance, but the President is not there yet,” Mr. Boehner began. “What the White House offered yesterday was essentially $1.3 million in new revenues, for only $850 billion in net spending reductions. That’s not balanced in my opinion. So, at the same time that we’re going to talk to the President, we’re going to also move ‘plan B.’”
As they face down the fiscal cliff, a growing number of Republicans are abandoning the pledge not to increase taxes that they made to anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. Today, Hudson Valley Rep. Chris Gibson came up with what might be the most creative excuse yet for breaking the pledge. Mr. Gibson saw his district number change from 20 to 19 during this year’s redistricting process and he reasoned that the pledge no longer applies to him as it was only to the constituents under the previous district number.
“The Congressman signed the pledge as a candidate in 2010 for the 20th Congressional District,” his spokeswoman explained. “Regarding the pledge moving forward, Congressman Gibson doesn’t plan to re-sign it for the 19th Congressional District, which he now represents (the pledge is to your constituents of a numbered district).”
In order to keep the city’s fiscal house in order in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled new cuts and streams of revenue over the weekend. Among the changes, school-lunch fees will increase from $1.50 to $2.50, while city libraries will see their funding axed to the tune of $8.3 million. Asked about it during a press conference today in the hard-hit Howard Beach neighborhood in Queens, Mr. Bloomberg defended the budgetary measures.
“It’s easy to say, ‘I don’t like A, B and C,’” he argued. “Well, what things would they like us to raise taxes [on]? The issue here is that we’re trying to find some balance so that everybody shares a little bit in the pain, everybody contributes; we’re all in this together. And do it such that people can afford [it]. It’s not asking a lot to go, in this day in age, from one price to another if it’s a relatively small price. But if a large number of people do it, it contributes significant revenues.”
The world will get a look at Mitt Romney’s 2011 tax return this afternoon at 3 p.m. Eastern. Mr. Romney’s taxes have been the subject of relentless attacks by the Obama campaign, which has called for the Republican candidate to release at least five years of his returns. Mr. Romney previously provided his 2010 return and information based on estimates for his 2011 return, which had to be finished by the extended October 15 deadline.
Mr. Romney is clearly not succumbing to the pressure to release more returns, along with his 2011 taxes, but the campaign said they will also release a letter with a summary of Mr. Romney’s tax rates from 1990-2009 this afternoon. Though the big reveal is still about an hour away, the Romney campaign teased some details about what will be contained in today’s document drop including how much Mr. Romney made last year and what his average rate has been since 1990.
Congressman Charles Rangel is the latest Democrat to pile on Mitt Romney after Mother Jones released a blockbuster secret video of one of the Republican candidate’s fundraisers in which he characterized President Barack Obama’s supporters as the “forty seven percent of Americans” who “pay no income tax,” suggested he’d have an easier chance of winning the White House if he was Mexican and called peace between Israelis and Palestinians “almost unthinkable,” among other controversial remarks.
Mr. Rangel issued a statement slamming Mr. Romney’s comments this afternoon describing them as “ridiculous,” far from the truth and amoral considering Mr. Romney’s own income tax situation.
In a letter sent to Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, this morning his counterpart on the Obama campaign, Jim Messina promised to let up on their criticism of Mr. Romney for not releasing more of his tax returns if he releases five years worth of returns. Mr. Messina said this offer should address any “fears” on Mr. Romney’s part that “that the more he offers, the more our campaign will demand that he provide.”
“If the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more–neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign,” Mr. Messina wrote. “This request for the release of five years, covering the complete returns for 2007-2012, is surely not unreasonable. Other Presidential candidates have released more, including the Governor’s father who provided 12 years of returns.”
Mr. Rhoades responded with an e-mail telling Mr. Messina, “If Governor Romney’s tax returns are the core message of your campaign, there will be ample time for President Obama to discuss them over the next 81 days.”
Mayor Bloomberg kissed a seal.
All of the GOP county chairs showed up for George McDonald’s mayoral discussion meeting, compared to the two that showed up for Malcolm Smith’s.
New York Democrats in tough races are skipping the convention with various excuses, which the GOP doesn’t buy.
Governor Cuomo touted Ben Lawsky’s $340 million settlement in a New York Post op-ed, and Albany’s already debating how to spend it.