ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested Wednesday that lawmakers should not return to Albany before the end of the year to raise taxes.

This week, legislators were negotiating the possibility of a rare December session to consider an income tax hike on the wealthy and extending an eviction moratorium for renters. Cuomo said if the Legislature wants to address taxes before the end of the year it can't do it in a vacuum.

"If the Legislature wants to do the budget now, we can do that but we have to do a budget, not just a tax increase," he said.

The governor said the state currently has a $15 billion budget gap. He said while taxes will almost certainly have to go up, lawmakers won't know how big the number will be unless they also address where to make cuts and potential new revenue sources like marijuana and sports betting.

Cuomo said he doesn't think addressing the budget now makes sense since the state does not have details on potential federal aid and would therefore be closing the hole on its own.

"That would lay off thousands of workers," he said. "The tax increase would be extraordinarily high. Also, doing a tax increase now gets you no additional funds than doing it in the beginning of next year."

This comes as new reports indicate the federal government may no longer include direct state and local aid in the COVID-19 relief package currently in negotiation. The governor blasted members of the U.S. House and Senate who would bankrupt Democratic states like New York, California, and Michigan.

"If you bankrupt the states, you bankrupt the nation. You really want to bankrupt New York? What would that do to the nation's economy, bankrupting New York?" Cuomo asked.

He said he believes when Joe Biden is sworn in as president, the federal government will eventually come around and approve the direct aid to states. However, he pointed that won't happen until late January.

For that reason, he said he believes it makes more sense for the state Legislature to address the budget in February and March.