Wednesday, December 29


An example of Bush leadership aka "We won, now choke on it."

No sooner had George W. Bush nailed down his 2004 electoral victory than talk began of abolishing state and local deductions on federal income tax forms. To high-tax states such as New York and California and New Jersey, the idea is a cold-blooded job-killer.

Not only would it steer new employers far away from the New York region, it would also erode our current job base. It would jack up our federal tax bills sharply and leave us in an even dicier plight as we struggle to compete with low-tax states.

You do the math. According to The New York Times, the plan - affecting 3.2 million households in the state - would cost New Yorkers $37 billion a year in lost deductions.

"No question about it," said Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, "this could hurt new job recruitment and it could be a threat to existing jobs."

The plan must come as a particular embarrassment to New York's two top Republicans - Gov. George Pataki, who campaigned hard last fall for Bush, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has struggled to maintain a semblance of party loyalty even as he governs an overwhelmingly Democratic city.

Naturally, they're working to put the best face possible on this howler.

A Bloomberg spokesman stresses that the proposal is just "a concept, not a plan." A Pataki guy swears that the whole thing is simply "a trial balloon - that's all it is."

Well, funny thing: Nearly everyone else I spoke with this week thinks the threat is about as real as Washington politics gets.


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