On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he wants to delay any tax hikes in the New York State budget till next year. The governor is looking for federal funding from the Biden administration to offset any possible tax hikes. Credit: NY Governor's Office

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo threw cold water Wednesday on the idea of state lawmakers returning to Albany in December to raise taxes to shore up a pandemic-ravaged budget.

Cuomo’s comments came two days after Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said lawmakers should convene and raise taxes now.

Better to continue to wait on help from Washington, the Democratic governor said.

Congress is discussing another federal aid package now — one that reportedly won’t include direct aid to states. President-elect Joe Biden is likely to be amenable to giving states aid, but that might not happen until February at earliest, Cuomo said.

By that point, New York legislators will be amid negotiations on the state’s 2020-21 budget and "will know what federal aid will be," the governor said. So it makes sense to wait before doing anything on taxes.

"I favor waiting until next year," he said. Cuomo downplayed Heastie’s concern that an income tax hike on 2020 wages has to be done this month or face court challenges.

Later Wednesday, Heastie questioned Cuomo's logic, noting that in 2011 — Cuomo's first year in office — legislators convened in December to address a deficit and extend the so-called "millionaires tax" instead of waiting for the upcoming budget. Also, Heastie noted Biden and Democrats might not have a majority in the U.S. Senate in February, depending on a runoff in Georgia, which could impact any bailout.

The governor has said New York needs $30 billion not only to plug a state budget deficit but also help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority weather a dramatic revenue decline triggered by the pandemic.

While reports say states might not receive any aid to offset revenue losses under the stimulus package under discussion in Washington, the MTA could. Cuomo repeated his view that some taxes hikes might happen even if the state gets help.

The state Senate and Assembly, led by Democrats, have been discussing raising tax rates on high earners, along with other stock and condo taxes. Some officials, however, believe if the state acts now, it will reduce the amount New York eventually receives from Washington.

The AFL-CIO and 10 unions have backed the idea of taking action now, saying raising tax rates on billionaires and "ultramillionaires" could generate at least $7 billion.

Fiscal hawks and some Republicans in the State Legislature have criticized Cuomo for not taking stronger measures to reduce spending.

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