Calling on some former political rivals, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced the formation of a Tax Relief Commission.
Governor Cuomo Wednesday revealed the commission in the nation’s No. 1 county when it comes to high property taxes – Westchester. In fact, three of the top four highest taxed counties in the U.S. are in New York – with Long Island’s Nassau County No. 2 and Rockland County No. 4. Cuomo is asking the commission to focus on ways to reduce property and business taxes. Former Governor George Pataki, a Republican who in 1994 defeated Cuomo’s father Mario Cuomo, will serve as co-chair.
Pataki, once mayor of Peekskill, says he has high hopes for what the commission can achieve. He will co-chair the commission with former New York State Comptroller Carl McCall, a Democrat. McCall is chairman of the State University of New York Board of Trustees.
Cuomo, who dropped out of a gubernatorial primary against McCall with a week before the vote in 2002, announced the commission at Manhattanville College in Purchase. He says tax relief is a centerpiece for next year’s agenda.
In addition to the co-chairs, the commission has six members, including Heather Briccetti, who is president and CEO of the New York State Business Council and Jack Quinn, president of Erie Community College and former New York GOP Congressman.
Cuomo says he aims to make New York more tax friendly, and keep residents and businesses from moving to states with more favorable tax climates.
Republican Assemblyman Kieran Lalor criticized the formation of the new commission, attacking previously formed commissions with going nowhere.
Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, in a statement, says he welcomes the commission’s involvement in lowering property taxes across the state, but says any meaningful effort to bring tax relief must start with delivering mandate relief to school districts and local governments.
The new Tax Relief Commission will issue a report on its findings and recommendations by December 6 for inclusion in the Governor’s 2014 State of the State agenda.