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NY, NJ, CA governors condemn tax overhaul


The governors of New York, California and New Jersey on Monday strongly condemned the GOP tax bill now before Congress, saying it is unfair to their states and will wreak havoc on the U.S. economy.

In a conference call, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 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.”

He said 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,” Cuomo said, repeating the Republicans’ rationale for supporting the bill. “How do you do that by assaulting 12 states that represent 40 percent of the GDP?”

Gov. Jerry Brown of California called the tax plan “evil” and said it will cost California’s economy $40 billion. Brown 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,” Brown said. “This is not just a 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 Gov.-elect Phil Murphy said he does not believe the fight is over yet. All three states have Republican congressional representatives, and he said 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 ninth inning,” Murphy said. “But it’s not over yet.”

Cuomo predicted that Republican House members who vote for the tax overhaul will be put out of office by voters in November. 

“A Congress person 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, said if the measure does ultimately pass, he’ll lead a movement the very next day 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 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.