This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," April 13, 2005, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: My next guest is arguing that those guys on Wall Street and others with them with all the money should be paying a lot more in taxes. He's running for the mayor of the city of New York. If elected, he has pledged to raise the income tax on anyone who makes more than $150,000 a year living in the city.
Joining us now from Capitol Hill is Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York.
REP. ANTHONY WEINER, D-N.Y.: You got that wrong, actually. I'm only raising taxes on those who make more than $1 million a year and giving a tax cut to anyone making less than $150,000 a year. And the math is simple.
CAVUTO: So, wait, wait, wait. OK. I'm sorry. I want to be clear here, because our staff was confused by your position; $150,000 and over, they're free and clear? They're not going to get a tax hike?
WEINER: That's right. The only people that are getting an increase in their taxes are those that make $1 million or more. Right now, the top tax in New York tops out at $500,000. We're adding a new bracket that raises that rate about 5 percent for those making over $1 million.
And that's just part of the plan. The rest of the plan is provide tax relief, 10 percent tax reduction for anyone making $150,000 or less, essentially two million taxpayers in the city of New York. We also said we're going to pay for this by reducing 5 percent of the programs in government that are wasteful or inefficient.
So, this is part of a plan to make the tax code more progressive, to make it more lean. And, also, we actually wind up leaving some money left over, because we're going to have deficits in the years to come.
CAVUTO: All right. But New Jersey, as you know, Congressman, did this with the millionaires' tax. In their case, it was actually for $500,000. So it was also a misnomer, I thought, when they called it a millionaires' tax. But they did that there. And that state's books still stink. I mean, they're still running deficits. So, who says that this solves things, just hiking taxes, on, in this case, the well-to-do?
WEINER: Well, one of the main benefits is that we not only give a tax cut to middle-class New Yorkers, a 10 percent tax cut under my plan, but we have money left over to do things like pay teachers a little more, pay the cops that deserve the funds that they haven't gotten since September 11.
This makes a progressive tax code and also reflects the values that I think, whether you're a millionaire or a "thousandaire" like me, you're going to see a better city as a result of this plan.
CAVUTO: Why do you think that, if in doubt for programs that you hold near and dear, you just tax the rich? Why is that the answer?
WEINER: Well, I don't think it's just tax the rich. That's why I say we need to get a lot more efficiency out of government. I pledge to use the Jack Welch model of saying the bottom 5 percent of programs, we're either going to reprogram or cut altogether. But I think it is important to realize that...
CAVUTO: Why not cut first, Congressman?
WEINER: Well, this is part of the same exact plan, one plan that does all of these things.
CAVUTO: No, it isn't. You're hiking taxes in the uppermost first and doing this cutting. I applaud you for the cutting part. But I wonder why the knee-jerk reaction is always to hike taxes on the well-to-do.
WEINER: Well, first of all, let's stop talking about this hike in taxes. We go from 4.45 percent to 4.67 percent on only those that make more than $1 million.
CAVUTO: But where were people getting this $150,000 and over crowd?
WEINER: I'm sorry?
CAVUTO: Where did this come from, that people thought you were hiking it on a group much lower? Did the press get it wrong?
WEINER: No, no, the press had it right. I'm telling you now, you have me here to tell you what my plan is. The press had it right today.
They focused on the tax on those over $1 million. And that is part of the plan. I don't deny it, because, frankly, I don't think it's fair that someone who makes $500,000 in income should pay the same tax rate as someone that has $5 in income.
CAVUTO: So, you're establishing a new super-rate.
WEINER: Essentially, I'm adding some progressivity by adding a top rate for millionaires.
And one of the things we're doing with those additional funds, we're giving a tax cut to the over two million middle-class New Yorkers. And we also plan on doing things like getting rid of some wasteful programs. I think you do all things at once. And I think there's a way to make the city better, while, yes, admittedly, adding to the tax burden on the very wealthy in the city. But I think we all benefit by doing it.
CAVUTO: All right.
All right, Congressman Weiner, bold position. We'll see what happens. Thank you very much.
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