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New York, like most states, is facing a large budget shortfall. Large budget cuts were made last year and there will likely be more this year. Until last week, the Democratic Governor, Andrew Cuomo, had resisted continuing a surtax on high income (> $200,000/year) earners that was to expire in a few weeks. But yesterday, the NY legislature enacted a different surtax -- with unanimous support from Republicans in the New York State Senate.

The details are in this New York Times article:

The Senate voted 55 to 0 for the tax code changes about 9 p.m. Wednesday, and the Assembly voted 132 to 8 around 1 a.m. Thursday. The governor plans to sign the measure into law soon, and the new tax rates will take effect in January.

Now, Republicans have a 32-30 majority in the New York Senate, and Democrats have a 98-50-1 majority in the New York Assembly. I haven't examined the roll calls, but it is clear that the new surtax -- which actually is a millionaire's tax, as the article explains -- had overwhelming support from Republicans as well as Democrats. Sanity prevailed, as people realize that government has a role to play and that it needs revenue to function.

Is this a first sign that Republican obstructionism is breaking? Unfortunately, I don't think so. Republicans in NY have never been fiscal conservatives; we are still paying for the spending projects of Robert Moses and Nelson Rockefeller. The real questions are whether the national version of the Republican Party and the local version here in NY are even the same party any more, and whether the extremists will try to punish the Republicans who did the right thing.

Another interesting question is how this will affect congressional elections this year: NY doesn't have its redistricting maps yet; will Tea Party Reps like Nan Hayworth or Bob Turner dare criticize the state party leadership knowing that their districts could be sliced and diced like salami?


Will any other state's Republican Party act in a sane manner and increase taxes

9%3 votes
34%11 votes
50%16 votes
6%2 votes

| 32 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Worthy of note is that this included (6+ / 0-)

    a middle class tax cut.

    The difference between the Republicans in DC who refuse to raise taxes on high income earners to pay for the payroll tax extension, and the Republicans in NY, is striking.

  •  Reason (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    charliehall2, radarlady

    Let's hope reason will prevail our country is in crisis and needs decisions like this to help raise it from the depth of our despair.  I always believe there reasonable people in both parties but they just need courage to offset the reaction of the fanatical fringes of their parties.    

  •  A lot of "victories" have been attributed to OWS (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tam in CA

    I think this one is real.
    Cuomo has been getting pounded with "Gov. 1%" and though his personal numbers haven't suffered much, he also sees the writing on the wall.
    The millionaires tax is broadly popular, and I think there's no doubt that the OWS movement is a large part of the reason why. Another round of brutal budget cuts with the public watching the wealthy walking off with a tax cut was just too much for even the Republicans because OWS is winning the message war.

    •  Getting evicted from Zucotti Park (0+ / 0-)

      may have been the best thing to happen to OWS. They were really wearing out their welcome as far as most NYers were concerned. Now that they aren't attracting attention for their poorly maintained camp, the message can come through more clearly.

      The focus of Occupy Albany on the Millionaire's Tax also may have helped. There are a lot of other issues it could have dealt with but it really made a big deal about it. Stay On Message is something that applies even to Horizontal movements.

    •  Also a consideration (0+ / 0-)

      is that the Republicans were facing the prospect of their own voters getting badly hurt. A lot of Republicans represent poor upstate districts whose local governments and school systems depend on state aid for their very existence.

      Never mind that the same is true for GOP Reps in the US Congress.

  •  A telling comment about this (0+ / 0-)

    My first instinct when I read that Republicans had voted for a tax increase on rich people was "what poison crap did they also get in exchange?"  Did they cancel the minimum wage, kill unemployment and welfare permanently, or perhaps beat up some children after taking away their candy?

    That gives you an idea of what I think the Republican party is like these days...

    New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

    by sleipner on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 01:13:16 PM PST

    •  The truth is that NY Republicans (0+ / 0-)

      really are different from those in the rest of the country. Yes, there are a few TeaPartiers, but most of them today are Big Government Conservatives and don't really fight against high taxes. The party as a whole has never been fiscally conservative -- we are still paying for the big public works projects of Robert Moses and Nelson Rockefeller.

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