News

Cuomo Announces Temporary Tax On High-Earning New Yorkers To Be Extended

Gun Rights Advocates File Lawsuit To Get Injunction Against N.Y.'s Strict Laws
An assortment of handguns (file/credit: JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

An assortment of handguns (file/credit: JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Tragedy In Newtown

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — There was double talk from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday, as he reversed positions on particular aspects of New York’s gun law and taxes.

As CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported, Cuomo tried to sell a tax “hike” as a tax “cut.”

Changes in the state’s tough new gun law haven’t been written into law yet, but Albany political sources told Kramer that they will happen, eating away at the law even before it goes into effect next month.

“They may or may not come to fruition,” Cuomo said.

Instead of the seven-bullet limit on gun magazines, the changes are expected to  allow 10-bullet clips, which, sources said, can be used at shooting ranges. Gun owners would then be on the honor system to put only seven bullets in the clip.

“There is no such thing as a seven-bullet magazine. That doesn’t exist, so you really have no practical option,” Cuomo said on Wednesday.

But that’s not Cuomo’s only pull back.

“This state has no future if it is going to be the tax capital of the nation,” Cuomo during his inauguration.

Cuomo then passed a supposedly temporary tax on high-earning New Yorkers that was due to end next year, but now, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday, that’s not going to happen.

“There will be an extension of the surcharge set to expire next year,” Cuomo said Thursday.

And when asked at if that wasn’t hypocritical, given his prior no-new-taxes positions, Cuomo tried to paint the tax hike as a tax cut, since the budget also provides the middle class with a $350 child tax rebate.

“Some taxes go up, yes, and others go down and the net is they go down. That’s why it’s a tax cut,” Cuomo said.

Business proponents are crying foul. Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, said it’s a huge mistake that will hurt the economy and drive high earners out.

“New York City, which is the economic engine of the state of New York, is in fact where the burden of this tax falls,” Wylde said. “Anything that hurts the economy of the city…that hurts the ability of business to recruit high-earning, top people from around the globe and bring them to New York is a problem.”

Wylde said that with federal tax changes that went into effect in January, these high-income New Yorkers will now be paying 54 percent of their earnings to the government, which is why they may succumb to the lure of no-income tax states like Texas and Florida, and Puerto Rico.

N.Y. Gun Rights Advocates File Suit To Block Strict New Laws

The New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association, joined by sportsmen’s groups, firearms businesses and individual gun owners, filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court seeking an injunction to stop the state’s new gun control law.

The suit claims the law violates New York State residents’ Second Amendment rights.

The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, or NY SAFE Act, was signed into law by Gov. Cuomo earlier this year in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in December. The provisions are among the strictest gun control measures on the books in the U.S.

The suit says the statute enacted Jan. 15 infringes on the right of law-abiding citizens to keep “commonly possessed” guns in the home for family defense and other legal purposes.

Following the filing of the lawsuit, the following statement was posted to the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association‘s website: “The Supreme Court affirmed an individual right to keep and bear arms in the landmark 2008 case of Heller v. District of Columbia and incorporated that decision to the states in the 2010 case of McDonald v. Chicago,” said NYSRPA President Thomas King. “These decisions apply to all New Yorkers. Attempts to deny our citizens the best and most effective tools available for personal protection cannot be tolerated.”

King said earlier in the day that he is hopeful this will become a landmark case that makes it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The SAFE Act includes several gun control measures and was the first law passed on a state level in response to the Newtown shooting rampage that left 20 first graders and six educators dead.

It tightens the definition of illegal “assault weapons” to include some popular and formerly legal semi-automatic rifles and requires registration of older guns.

The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, the lead plaintiff and NRA affiliate, said it was bringing the suit on behalf of its 45,000 members. President Tom King has estimated there are about 4.75 million gun owners among New York’s 19 million residents. Other plaintiffs include the Westchester County Firearms Owners Association, Beikrich Ammunition Corp., Blueline Tactical & Police Supply, gun manufacturer Bedell Custom and the Sportsmen’s Association for Firearms Education.

“Criminals have and use magazines without any limitation in capacity. The act’s provisions on magazines put law-abiding citizens at a grave disadvantage to criminals, who will not comply with the seven-round limit,” the suit said.  Likewise, it said the ban on assault weapons, “a pejorative term,” is being broadened “to describe countless numbers of rifles, handguns and shotguns that were commonly possessed under prior law.”

The suit seeks a ruling that both provisions violate the constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms and the 14th Amendment right to equal protection under the laws as well as injunctions stopping enforcement. The suit does not challenge many other provisions, including stronger penalties for gun crimes.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, named along with Cuomo as a defendant, said Thursday the law is “making New York communities safer, while ensuring constitutional protections to responsible gun owners. My office will continue to aggressively defend the protections embodied in the law because every New Yorker deserves to live in a safe neighborhood free from the threat of gun violence,” he said.

What do you think of the lawsuit and the continuation of the high-income tax? Please offer your comments below…

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)