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N.Y. tax cut campaigns

READ this George's lips: lower state income taxes for New Yorkers. Republican gubernatorial candidate George Pataki, surging in the polls, is pledging a $5.6 billion state personal income tax cut over the next four years. The plan includes: Bringing the top rate down to 5.9 percent by 1998, from 7.875 percent; lowering the bottom rate to 5.5 percent and then 4.0 percent; providing a family-care tax credit and increasing the standard deduction.

Pataki, who presented the plan Wednesday, claimed that the plan could be financed without cutting any major programs. Instead, he maintains he can lower the rate of increase of spending to get $11.5 billion in savings over the next four years. In the current fiscal year, total state spending increased by 9.3 percent, or more than triple the rate of inflation.

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Arda Nazerian, a press aide for Gov. Mario Cuomo's campaign, called the Pataki plan a ``reckless promise by the radical right which would devastate local governments.'' Governor Cuomo is to present a $1.5 billion tax-cut plan next week.

Investment banker Deborah Buresh said the plan will be an ``uphill battle'' to actually enact, since 69 percent of the state budget goes towards local aid. But legislators have padded the budget with the 9.3 percent increse for the election year. In the next three years, the budget is projected to grow by only 4.48 percent per annum.

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