After changing his mind on changing taxes and signaling he wanted to raise taxes for the wealthy just over the weekend, Governor Cuomo ushered in tax cuts for the middle class and a tax hike for the wealthy. Passed by the State Senate (unanimously!) and Assembly last night, the NY Times notes, "The remarkably rapid progress of the tax revisions — without a single public hearing or town-hall-style meeting — provided the most striking illustration to date of Mr. Cuomo’s policymaking strategy: information is tightly controlled, negotiations are carried out behind closed doors and the debate is limited to just a few people."
David Grandeau, former director of the state lobbying commisson, tells the Times, "If you admire pure power politics and accomplishing things, which is what a leader does, you have to give the guy credit for the way he pulls these things off. You can argue that it’s not good for democracy when we have things done this way, but if you really want to be honest with yourself, the greatest form of government to accomplish things is a dictatorship. Democracy is a pain." In other words: Steamrolling works, if you do it right.
Republican State Senator James Tedisco of Schenectady said, "I think it’s as bad as you can get in terms of reneging on a promise to be more open, more transparent. Pretty soon they’ll just say, ‘Stay home, and just send in your votes when we bring the bills out.’" Of course, Tedisco is in a tough position, because the State Senate Republicans have been anti-tax. Majority Leader Dean Skelos (Long Island) was spinning it this way to the Wall Street Journal, "We're cutting taxes, in my opinion," because those making more than $2 million will now have a tax rate of 8.82%, down from the expiring millionaire's tax of 8.97%.
Related: Here's who the Times says will benefit from the tax deal.