Gov. Cuomo in Annual Address: NY Will Sue to Block Federal Tax Reform

ALBANY (AP/Hamodia) -
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday delivers his state of the state address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. (Philip Kamrass/Office of Gov. Cuomo)

New York state will take Washington to court to challenge the historic new tax reform bill signed into law by President Donald Trump, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at his election year state of the state address Wednesday.

The lawsuit is one of several ways Gov. Cuomo, a potential 2020 presidential contender, is positioning himself to lead the opposition to Mr. Trump and Congressional Republicans. He’s also calling for the state to push back on federal cutbacks on Obamacare and climate, as well as the toughened immigration policies.

“Our federal government is working to roll back so much of what we have done,” he said in his annual address to lawmakers in Albany. “We cannot, we must not let those things happen… In the immortal words of John Paul Jones, we have not yet begun to fight, my friends.”

The new tax law caps a deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000, a move that will increase federal tax liabilities for many homeowners in high-tax states like New York. Cuomo says the change could increase tax liabilities for some wealthy New Yorkers by as much as 25 percent, potentially prompting some to leave for cheaper states and making the state less competitive economically.

The governor began his address by noting the spurt in anti-Semitic threats this past year. “We stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters across the state and we applaud their heroism,” he said.

Cuomo also announced plans to sue opioid manufacturers for allegedly violating rules on the monitoring and reporting of suspicious drug shipments. He said any money obtained from the legal action would go toward efforts to fight the scourge of addiction.

“They pumped these pills into society and they created addictions,” Cuomo said. “Like the tobacco industry they killed thousands… We will make them pay.”

New York faces a $4 billion deficit, and this year’s agenda from Cuomo was relatively light on expensive, ambitious programs. Instead, the governor proposed several measures, including new disclosure rules for online political ads, early voting and investments in water quality and renewable energy. Other proposals include one that would require people convicted of a domestic violence crime to surrender any firearms.

Many of the governor’s new proposals are aimed squarely at Washington, and a federal government that he says is seeking to set back his recent accomplishments such as a higher minimum wage, free college tuition and paid family leave.

Cuomo mentioned Mr. Trump by name only once, while discussing how diversity has benefited New York. Cuomo noted that the flag in the Oval Office bears the words “e pluribus unum” or “out of many, one.”

“To find the way forward, the president only needs to turn around,” he said.

Lawmakers began their 2018 session earlier in the day Wednesday. In addition to Cuomo’s ideas, they’re expected to consider several other high profile measures, including bills to authorize physician-assisted suicide.

Cuomo says he’s also looking at changes to the state tax code in response to the federal overhaul. Details won’t be released until he unveils his state budget proposal later this month.