Governor Andrew Cuomo has enlisted some help from one of his predecessors to look for ways to cut taxes for businesses and middle class New Yorkers. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman has more on why Cuomo, a democrat, asked republican George Pataki for some help in keeping politics out of the process.
NEW YORK STATE -- It's a sight that for some is difficult to imagine. Former Governor George Pataki joining with one-time rivals Carl McCall and current Governor Andrew Cuomo with the goal of reducing New York's tax burden.
"I have to confess when I got the call from Governor Cuomo, I wasn't sure that he dialed the right number," Pataki said.
But it was the right number. Cuomo wanted to Pataki to serve on a new commission that will develop recommendations for cutting property taxes, business taxes and the estate tax. The composition is somewhat unusual, considering Pataki defeated the current governor's father, Mario Cuomo, in 1994. And then in 2002 McCall and Cuomo waged a bitter Democratic primary battle for governor that split the state party. Wednesday, however, they all joined together as Andrew Cuomo described the bi-partisan commission as the opposite of gridlock in the nation's capital.
Cuomo said, "We've seen the alternative in Washington. We've seen what gridlock can do and when you have people who choose to argue rather finding ways to come to a compromise."
Cuomo insisted Wednesday the state is in good enough financial shape to begin looking at how to cut taxes, a promise he reportedly made to campaign donors over the summer. The state budget is expected to have a $1.7 billion deficit next year, but surpluses are being predicted for 2016.
"This is the best fiscal shape our state has been in in years," said former New York State comptroller Carl McCall.
Not everyone is convinced, however. Liberals critics of Pataki's time as governor were quick to pounce on his chairing the commission.
"The former governor, Governor Pataki, is responsible for New York state being number one in income inequality right now because of the policies and programs that he put in place," said Ron Deustch, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness Executive Director.
The push to cut taxes comes a year before next year's elections, when Cuomo will be seeking a second term.