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Angie Drobnic Holan
By Angie Drobnic Holan October 9, 2007

Not by himself, he didn't

Rudy Giuliani has repeatedly said that he cut taxes 23 times while he was mayor of New York. He repeated the claim during a debate in Dearborn, Mich., on Oct. 9, 2007.

The problem is, he was opposed to one of the tax cuts he lists, and several other cuts were championed by others or involved state funds — not city funds.

The most glaring example is the expiration of the 12.5 percent personal income tax surcharge on New York City residents. Peter Vallone, then the city council speaker and a candidate for governor, championed letting the tax expire, while Giuliani opposed him. After about five months, the mayor and the city council came to a budget agreement, and Giuliani changed his mind and let the tax expire.

Some New Yorkers have disputed whether the mayor may appropriately take credit for the STAR program, a property tax rebate that Gov. George Pataki initiated and paid for with state funds, according to an analysis of the cuts by the New York Daily News.

The Annenberg Political FactCheck, a fact-checking Web site, looked at the "23 tax cuts" line when the campaign used the figure in a Giuliani radio ad. FactCheck concluded, based on information from New York City's Independent Budget Office, that eight of the tax cuts Giuliani boasts about actually should be credited to state government initiatives. In addition, FactCheck said he did not deserve credit for the personal income tax surcharge and that overall, he could rightly claim only 14 of the 23 tax cuts.

The Giuliani campaign has argued that Giuliani deserves credit for any tax cuts under his watch. Giuliani made the case himself to a reporter in an exchange that was captured on video.

In the video, Giuliani said he deserves credit for the tax cuts because he publicly argued for them and lobbied for them, and that he was the chief executive of the tax base that was affected.

Still, we find it's a stretch for Giuliani to personally take credit for 23 when many of them were primarily pushed by others. So we find his claim to be Half True.

Our Sources

New York Daily News, "Critics say Rudy didn't make as many cuts as he claims," July 29, 2007.

"Rudy defends tax cut claims," YouTube video posted by GraniteGrok.com, July 30, 2007.

The Annenberg Political Factcheck, "Giuliani's Tax Puffery," July 27, 2007.

The New York Times, "Budget Talks Stall as Mayor and Speaker Chase Own Goals," May 31, 1998.

The New York Times, "The House That Roared, With Gusto," June 18, 1998.

The New York Times, "In Budget Pact, Giuliani and Council Drop a Tax Surcharge," Nov. 18, 1998.

Buffalo News, "Assessor Appeals for Assistance with STAR Applications," Oct. 1, 1997.

The New York Times, "Homeowners Should File Soon to Obtain a School-Tax Break," Feb. 22, 1998.

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