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NY, CA Governors Condemn Tax Overhaul

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The governors of New York and California as well as New Jersey’s incoming governor are strongly condemning the Republican tax bills in Congress, saying they are unfair to their states and will wreak havoc on the U.S. economy. 

In a conference call Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the federal tax overhaul plan that severely restricts state and local tax deductions is “political retaliation” against 12 states that are run by Democrats. The states have relatively high taxes, and the loss of the deductions will mean middle and upper middle class residents, and wealthy residents will pay more in what Cuomo calls “double taxation”.

The Democrat says they are also among the richest and most economically successful states in the nation, and together represent 40 percent of the gross domestic product.

“You’re going to help the American economy,” said Cuomo, repeating the Republican’s rationale for supporting the bill. “How do you do that by assaulting 12 states that represent 40 percent of the GDP? This will be negative for our states and regional economies - there is no doubt about that." 

Governor Jerry Brown of California calls the tax plan “evil” and says it will cost California’s economy $40 billion. Brown, apparently at times banging his hand on his desk, said the tax bill is “ripping the country apart”.

“There’s never been a time when Republicans have been so far from Democrats. You cannot govern a country with that type of divisiveness,” said Brown. “This is not just a little moving around of tax money, this is potentially a ratcheting up of the undermining of our country.”

The U.S. Senate and House have now approved similar tax plans and are in conference committees to craft a final bill. But New Jersey Governor–elect Phil Murphy says he does not believe the fight is over yet. All three states have Republican congressional representatives, and he says if more of them vote "no" on the final bill, then the plan would be defeated. No Democrats are expected to vote for the measure.

“We may be in the 9th inning,” said Murphy. “But it’s not over yet.”

Governor Cuomo predicts GOP House members who vote for the tax overhaul will be put out of office by voters in November.

“A Congressperson who votes for this, there’s no going home again in my opinion,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo - echoing the language of the Republicans who opposed the Affordable Care Act - says if the measure does ultimately pass, then the very next day he’ll lead a movement to repeal and replace what he calls the “divisive” tax act. 

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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