Cuomo assembling panel to study pot legalization


Payroll tax: Cuomo is considering switching NY from an income-tax system to a payroll-tax system to skirt new federal limits on tax deductions.

Falling state revenues over the past few months mostly can be pinned on two factors, the comptroller said. Cuomo also is under fire for the troubled mass transit system, but has blamed the state legislature and New York City for lack of funding help.

As part of his budget address, Governor Andrew Cuomo says he wants the the Department of Health to look into the impact of legalizing marijuana on NY.

Cuomo also expected to include a panel to study the legalization of recreational marijuana.

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled a $168.2 billion budget proposal that holds back increased spending but proposes a number of "revenue raisers" to address a $4.4 billion budget deficit. One idea is a new payroll tax which would largely replace the current income tax, an ambitious idea that already faces challenges with New York's Republican lawmakers.

"We are doing everything we can to thwart the effects of the federal plan", Cuomo said Tuesday.

The budget attempts to fund numerous state funded programs and projects while trying to close a gap of $4.4 billion.

"We're looking at all options", he said, adding that a report from state tax officials on possible changes will be released Wednesday.

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For some homeowners, particularly in wealthier downstate areas, the $10,000 limit will lead to a tax increase when people file their 2018 taxes next year, Cuomo has warned. "We don't want to make a bad situation worse".

At the same time, Cuomo will have to show his ideas for dealing with a state budget deficit that, if he keeps spending increases below a self-imposed cap of 2 percent, will run about $1.8 billion.

New Jersey, which has its own medical marijuana program, also is considering legalizing the drug.

He has repeatedly bashed the tax plan as harmful to New Yorkers.

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