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Friday, September 7, 2007
posted by Devon Murphy | 11:26 PM | permalink
He cut taxes 23 times in New York and turned a $2.3 billion budget deficit into a multi-billion dollar surplus, while balancing the city’s budget. Because he turned his conservative principles into action, New York City taxpayers saved more than $9 billion in taxes...

That's the official line according to Rudy's website. Cesar Conda, former assistant for domestic policy under Vice President Cheney begs to differ:

"Upon closer inspection, however, Giuliani?s record on taxes isn't as conservative as advertised. In fact, a nonpartisan independent organization found that Mayor Giuliani actually opposed significant tax cuts, and would have denied hundreds of millions of dollars in tax relief for New Yorkers had he gotten his way.

", which is run by the non-partisan Annenberg School at the University Of Pennsylvania, has pointed out that Mayor Giuliani fought Republican efforts to kill the city's commuter tax [$360 million annual], and actually went to court to keep it alive."
"In another instance, reported that Giuliani strenuously opposed a personal-income-tax-rate cut amounting to $469 million – but now claims credit for it as one of the 23 taxes he cut."
"Moreover, [Giuliani's] refusal to sign Americans for Tax Reform?s 'Taxpayer Protection Pledge' raises serious doubts among economic conservatives about his commitment to keeping income-tax rates low.

All in all, while Rudy claims to have cut or eliminated taxes 23 times for a total of $9 billion dollars (and at times his campaign has claimed $9.8 billion), he actually can only claim to initiating 15 tax cuts for a total of $5.4 billion dollars. To put this in proper perspective, let's dig a little more:

When he took office in 1994, Giuliani was indeed facing a $2.3 billion deficit for the next fiscal year. But Giuliani's last budget, issued in May 2001 – before 9/11 – for fiscal 2002, projected a deficit of nearly $2.8 billion in fiscal 2003, the first budget year the new mayor would face. The IBO estimated the deficit would be even larger, about $3.3 billion. In reality, thanks to 9/11, the budget hole turned out to be around $5 billion.

And let's not forget the city debt. When Rudy came into office, he inherited $26.6 billion of general obligation loans. When he left, that number was at $43 billion and climbing. The increase in debt, $16.4 billion, was over 3 TIMES THE CUTS IN TAXES over the same period. Borrowing rose at about 5 percent each of the last five Giuliani years. Currently, NYC pays roughly 10.4% of its total $59 billion budget and 17% of its tax revenue EVERY YEAR to cover the interest on a $51 billion debt (PDF warning). Using those numbers as a model, the debt that Rudy was directly responsible for ($16.4 billion) cost the city in the neighborhood of $6.5 billion dollars over his eight years in office, over a billion dollars more than the tax relief during the same period.

So, to summarize the points here...

1. Rudy left the city with a $2.7 billion greater single-year budget shortfall than he found it ($1 billion if you don't count 9/11).

2. Rudy actually lowered taxes by $4.4 billion LESS than his campaign has claimed.

3. During the booming 1990's, Rudy borrowed an additional $16.4 billion on city debt, costing New Yorkers over a billion dollars more than their tax cuts to just pay the interest.

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I definitely want the candidate who will hold the line on spending and balance the budget. Giuliani is a RINO on fiscal conservatism and much as any social issue.

I agree with you.

But the Republican Party's problem is that, after 8 years of Bush's deficits, most Republican primary voters no longer view extensive debt as a bad thing. They think that at some point in the faraway future, the Fairy Godmother will pay off the debt by eliminating Big Government.

Timotheus, agreed. Rudy is unique among candidates in that he is pushing some of his weaknesses (GWOT and fiscal policy) as if they were strengths, relying on a wave of public emotion to pull him through the primaries.

Woodrow, the deficit mentality of our culture is something I find extremely depressing. And after years of deficit leadership in government, is it any wonder that the average Americans' saving rate is negative? This is just the time that we need a leader who can institute a policy and mentality of responsible fiscal stewardship.

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