ALBANY— Hoping to soften the impact of the new, “diabolical” federal tax law, Gov. Cuomo signed an emergency order Friday allowing New Yorkers to pay at least some of their 2018 property taxes before the start of the new year.
Cuomo said the move will allow homeowners one last chance to take full advantage of the federal deduction for state and local taxes before it gets curtailed.
The tax law approved by the GOP-controlled Congress and signed by President Trump Friday limits the so-called SALT deduction to $10,000.
“At least this device will postpone the pain for one year,” Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters.
The executive order signed by Cuomo temporarily negated state and local laws that prevented local officials from accepting advance payments on property tax bills — but it would still be up to local governments and school districts to decide if they wanted to do so.
Cuomo urged them to take advantage of the order and said the state Department of Taxation and Finance would offer assistance.
“We’re doing it to circumvent the bill the president just signed,” Cuomo said. “You’re damn right I am.”
Cuomo said his administration is also looking at the state tax code – which is intertwined with the federal code – to see if any adjustments can be made to further soften the federal tax bill’s impact on New Yorkers.
The governor, over the past several weeks, has repeatedly bashed the GOP’s tax reform effort, especially the limitations placed on deductions for state and local taxes.
“This is an economic civil war pitting red states against blue states,” Cuomo said Friday, adding that he is still considering legal action against the federal government over the tax bill and is consulting with other governors.
Demonstrators protest the GOP tax plan in Manhattan
Cuomo’s moves were lauded by both Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx).
“While legislative solutions are always preferable, the Speaker supports measures like this to give New Yorkers relief from the huge burdens this draconian tax bill places on our citizens,’ Heastie said.
Flanagan said Cuomo’s order “will give taxpayers another option to ensure they pay the lowest possible amount in federal taxes, and I encourage anyone who can to take full advantage.”
However, E.J. McMahon of the conservative-leaning Empire Center for Public Policy, cautioned that New Yorkers should carefully review their own finances before deciding whether to make any early tax payments.
“This is a your-mileage-may-vary situation,” McMahon said.
Cuomo’s move came after Brooklyn State Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat, introduced a bill late Thursday that would adjust the state’s tax code to ensure the federal changes do not impact the way New York calculates personal income and thereby increase the state’s tax burden on residents.