U.S. News

Truth Squad: Are Giuliani's Tax Cuts Exaggerated?

Carl Quintanilla

Rudy Giuliani is getting out in front of next week's CNBC presidential debate with a seven-day media blitz touting his record as an economic conservative.

In it, he claims to have cut taxes 23 times as mayor of New York. And he says New Yorkers had a 17% reduction in tax burdens during his tenure.

Giuliani takes credit for cutting taxes on everything from property to sales of clothes — even coin-operated amusement devices.

But a closer look at the numbers show he's claiming credit for some tax cuts that weren't his idea to begin with. And others that he actively opposed.

For instance, seven tax cuts that he says were his were actually initiated by New York State. Giuliani may have supported the measures, but they were never floated by his office. That's according to the Independent Budget Office, a publicly funded watchdog group.

Then there's the granddaddy of New York tax cuts -- the ending of a 12.5% surcharge on personal income tax. Giuliani cites it as his No. 1 achievement on taxes -- and he did initially propose it, but then later dropped his support for the measure, even fighting it before finally giving in to the city council. It was the largest New York City tax cut in history.

FactCheck.org says Giuliani probably deserves credit for $5.4 billion in tax reductions — not the nearly $10 billion he claims.

When it comes to taxes, Giuliani may, in fact, be a conservative. But his critics say he's also guilty of a little exaggeration.