Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Governor/Kevin P. Coughlin
“You will play a pivotal role in history by reining in the extreme conservative agenda threatening our citizens’ rights, values, and liberties,” Gov. Cuomo wrote in his letter to the New York House Democratic Delegation.
By Forum Staff
As members of Congress prepared this week for the upcoming legislative session, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reached out to the New York House Democratic Delegation to remind them to stand up for the people that got them to the Hill and helped the party to ultimately regain the majority of the House of Representatives.
Cuomo issued a letter on Monday to the 22 Democrats that represent New York in the House. After congratulating them on their victory earlier this month in the midterm elections—“You will play a pivotal role in history by reining in the extreme conservative agenda threatening our citizens’ rights, values, and liberties”—Cuomo called on the pols to fight for Empire State priorities, highlighting “our most urgent needs”: to fully restore the state and local tax deduction and secure full federal funding for the Gateway Tunnel project.
“The elimination of the deductibility of state and local taxes, in our opinion, violated the letter and spirit of the Constitution and was a gross act of political retaliation,” the governor wrote. “The consequence to New York and this nation cannot be understated. Eighty percent of the benefits from the Trump tax cuts go to the top 1 percent of Americans. Corporations receive a 40-percent tax break. The current cost of the SALT bill to New York is $14.3 billion growing to $15.9 billion annually. It would make this state, and other Democratic states, considerably less economically competitive. The financial penalties commence this year. The pain will be real. Home values could drop. Equity will be lost. I would urge you to stand together and rally the other members in state delegations and demand that the SALT deduction is fully restored.”
Later in the missive, Cuomo called attention to “another immediate concern,” the Gateway Tunnel. The governor noted that the existing Hudson River train tunnels are seriously deteriorated and the damage was exacerbated by Superstorm Sandy. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation and New York and New Jersey reached a framework agreement in which the federal government would fund 50 percent of the Gateway Tunnel project and New York and New Jersey would be responsible for financing the other half. However, the Trump administration has chosen to halt the pact.
“This should not be viewed as a project for New York and New Jersey—the economic and commercial vitality of the entire nation is at stake,” Cuomo reasoned in the letter. “It is governmental malpractice for everyone to agree that a transportation and economic crisis is looming but still no action is taken. This transcends any political or parochial interest.”