Cuomo Taps Ex-N.Y. Gov. for Tax Relief Commission

PURCHASE, N.Y. -
Former New York Gov. George Pataki, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former state Comptroller Carl McCall pose at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., on Wednesday upon the establishment of the new Tax Relief Commission. (AP Photo/Jim Fitzgerald)
Former New York Gov. George Pataki, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former state Comptroller Carl McCall pose at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., on Wednesday upon the establishment of the new Tax Relief Commission. (AP Photo/Jim Fitzgerald)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday enlisted two former political opponents to look for ways to cut two to three billion dollars in property taxes for businesses and middle class New Yorkers, who pay the highest taxes in the nation.

Cuomo, a Democrat, said he went to former Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, partly to keep politics out of the process. He also named former state Comptroller Carl McCall as co-chairmen of a Tax Relief Commission.

The commission, which is to report to Cuomo by Dec. 6, will focus on property taxes, which Cuomo called a scourge statewide.

There is a personal dimension for Cuomo in both of the appointments.

Pataki beat Cuomo’s father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, in the senior Cuomo’s bitter reelection battle in 1994. And McCall emerged as the Democratic nominee for governor in 2002 after heavy pressure was placed on the younger Cuomo to withdraw from the race. McCall went on to be soundly defeated by Pataki.

Pataki says that when he got the call from Cuomo he thought at first it was a wrong number.

Edward Cox, the newly reelected state Republican party chairman, praised the commission’s makeup and goal.

“New York needs serious tax reform, regulatory reform, mandate relief, education reform and workforce development to free small businesses, to create jobs and to remove our dubious distinction as the least business-friendly state in the nation,” Cox said.