By MICHAEL GORMLEY, Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday supported President Barack Obama's proposal to tax millionaires and corporations at a higher rate to pay for a jobs program.
Cuomo initially declined to comment during a Monday press conference on Obama's proposal, first presented Sept. 8, until he received "specifics." Hours later, Cuomo urged Congress to support the Democratic president's proposal.
"While I am against raising taxes in general, if taxes need to be raised to create jobs, balance the budget and lower the deficit then those increases need to be done at the federal level and on the wealthiest Americans, not the middle class," Cuomo said.
Obama proposes a $447 billion jobs plan made up of tax cuts and new spending. The plan announced in an address to Congress would raise about $400 billion by eliminating certain deductions, including on charitable contributions.
Cuomo killed a state proposal by his fellow Democrats in the Assembly earlier this year that would have increased the income tax on wealthier New Yorkers. He said it would hurt the economy and chase wealthier New Yorkers and employers to neighboring states.
Assembly Democrats are pushing the proposal again for the 2012-13 budget to help fund schools and health care.
"Tax policy is a different discussion at the federal level," said Cuomo, a former housing secretary for President Bill Clinton. "We have competitors."
In April, the Legislature passed much of Cuomo's first budget that addressed a $10 billion deficit without raising broad-based taxes. He had proposed the first overall decline in state spending in decades with strong support from the state Senate's Republican majority.