Cuomo to challenge federal tax overhaul as unconstitutional attack on states’ rights

Gov. Andrew Cuomo vows to sue the Trump administration over the GOP tax overhaul during his State of the State address .
Courtesy Governor’s office
By Bill Parry

Gov. Andrew Cuomo went on the offensive last week, using his State of the State address to attack Republicans’ tax overhaul and pledging to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration, proclaiming an unconstitutional assault on states’ rights.

Cuomo also urged New York state to fight Washington’s crackdown on immigration, environmental protections and health care spending.

“Our federal government is working to roll back so much of what we have done,” Cuomo said. “We cannot, we must not let those things happen. In the immortal words on John Paul Jones, we have not yet begun to fight.”

Cuomo said he would like to change the tax code as a way to balance the overhaul for New Yorkers and promised that details will be released after he presents his state budget proposal later this month. Mayor Bill de Blasio traveled to Albany for the speech and afterward offered rare praise of the governor’s stance.

“I think this is a smart and important move by the governor and his administration, to look for any way that could lessen the blow of the Republican tax bill,” de Blasio said. “We all agree the bill passed in Washington, signed by President Trump, is going to disproportionately hurt New Yorkers. We’ve talked about 600,000 New York City taxpayers who are going to see, on average, a $5,000 increase in their taxes — double taxation at its worst.

“It’s going to hurt people all over New York state as well. So I’m glad the governor is looking for creative alternatives that may provide a solution.”

Cuomo also announced plans to sue opioid manufacturers for violating regulations on the monitoring and reporting of drug shipments. He said money generated by the lawsuit would go to the fight against opioid 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.”

Cuomo also proposed a new sexual harassment policy and sweeping election reform, including new disclosure rules for online political ads to bolster protections against foreign interference, making investments to increase voter turnout and enacting early voting.

De Blasio said he was “heartened” to hear Cuomo call for election reform. “New York State, unfortunately, is lagging behind the rest of the nation,” de Blasio said. “It’s very hard to vote here. This is underlying a lot of the problems we’re facing. We don’t have a good functioning democracy in this state. We have to fix it. That will be a top priority for New York City.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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