30 March, 2006

Weld's Tax Plan Falling Flat With Numbers Crunchers

GOP gubenatorial candidate William Weld's proposal to eliminate the income tax for some New Yorkers is not passing the smell test. Weld proposed earlier this week to cut taxes for individual New Yorkers making $75,000 or less. Weld estimated the plan would cost the state $6.9 billion a year, which he argued could be made up elsewhere. Numbers crunchers are saying it will cost a lot more. In addition, some critics say the plan just isn't fair. They claim it would add a new "marriage" tax by not offering any benefit to married couples who's income exceeds $75,000. In addition, someone making the magic 75-grand or less would pay nothing. Someone making $75,001 would pay thousands. The New York Sun has a closer look at the plan on its Web site today.

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The U.S. Senate yesterday passed a measure to limit lobbying activities, a plan critics called too weak. The bill would ban lobbyists from giving gifts to, and buying meals for, lawmakers and tighten rules for politicians' pet home-district projects. It would not limit a lawmaker's ability to fly on corporate jets, where lobbyists often get a lot of face time with a very captive audience.

Today, Democratic candidate for state attorney general Andrew Cuomo unveiled his proposal to cut down on so-call pay-to-play activities here in New York. Cuomo's plan calls for the creation of an independent state ethics commission. In addition, Cuomo is proposing a ban on gifts to state officials and the closing of a loophole in the state's law preventing former government officials from lobbying members of the state legislature for two years after they leave government service, among other measures.


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