A possible statewide payroll tax as envisioned by Governor Andrew Cuomo could face a key roadblock in the state Senate, where Republicans say they are opposed.
"I don't like the payroll tax at all. I haven't met any one of my colleagues who like the payroll tax," said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. "We pay enough taxes already."
Cuomo last week proposed replacing the state's personal income tax with a payroll tax as a response to the federal tax law capping state and local tax deductions at $10,000. But Senate Republicans on Tuesday in Albany unveiled their own package of proposed tax cuts they say should be taken up.
"We will be fighting for those New Yorkers who we hear from every single day who are struggling with high taxes and the high cost of living in our state," said Sen. Cathy Young (R - Olean).
The plan would permanently cap property taxes, provide property tax rebates to older homeowners and cut the personal income tax. Flanagan insisted the cuts would be paid for, and that major spending cuts on school aid and health care won't be needed.
"We're going to continue to make investments in education and in health care," he said, "and I'm almost confident that with Wall Street doing as well as it is, we will see enhanced revenues coming into the state of New York."
If there's anything state lawmakers agree on right now, it's avoiding cutting health care and education, even as the state faces a $4.5 billion deficit.
"I don’t believe we have to do any cutting in terms of education and health care, and I think we'll see growth, significant growth, in both," said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
But the real test will be whether the state can adapt to the federal tax law. Democrats say it must.
"We have to do whatever we can to help people deal with what are going to be very impactful changes coming from Washington," said Sen. Mike Gianaris (D - Queens).
Cuomo presents his budget proposal later this month.