Criticizing Rudy Giuliani for comments relating to the Commuter Tax is unfounded. Rudy Giuliani’s fiscal year 2000 budget proposed tax cuts that would have saved New York City taxpayers an estimated $627 million by Fiscal Year 2003. These included income tax cuts, sales tax exemptions, property related tax cuts, small business tax cuts and business tax reform. The State however, proposed cutting the Commuter Tax. This tax cut would not have benefited a single New York City resident, unlike the tax cuts proposed by Rudy Giuliani. Even worse, it was proposed after Rudy Giuliani submitted his budget and tax cut proposals, and undermined his tax cut plan. So, if you criticize Rudy Giuliani for fighting with Albany over tax cuts, you criticize him for attempting to cut taxes even further in New York City. Mr. Conda may also want to distinguish between proposing tax cuts and achieving tax cuts. Arguing that Mr. Romney was unable to achieve success in cutting taxes because of Democratic resistance does not speak well of achieving bi-partisan success in the future. It should be noted that the New York City Council is composed of 51 members and during the Giuliani Administration, 45 were Democrats.
Ultimately, Rudy Giuliani changed the culture in New York City. Instead of a culture that monolithically opposed tax cuts; it grew into a culture that not only expected tax reductions, but began ask the question of which taxes to cut. Compare this to Massachusetts, which under Romney, became a culture that asked which fee it could hike.
Joe Lhota served as New York City’s deputy mayor for operations (1998 - 2001) and budget director (1995 – 1999) during the administration of Mayor Rudy Giuliani.