Yesterday, just hours after The New York Sun reported on the new revenue collection scheme, the Spitzer administration announced that it was burying it for the time being — at least until after the Christmas shopping season. The move saved New York City shoppers from having to pay an additional 8.375% on many Amazon.com goods.
"Governor Spitzer believes that now is not the right time to be increasing sales taxes on New Yorkers," Mr. Spitzer's budget director, Paul Francis, said in a statement. "He has directed the Department of Tax and Finance to pull back its interpretation that would require some Internet retailers that do not collect sales tax to do so."
It's been a hell of a year in New York politics: Spitzer won the governorship by a landslide, bragged that he was a "fucking steamroller," flagrantly abused power to attack the GOP state Senate leader, then fought, and lost, a pitched battle on drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants. His political capital is torched; Ira Stoll and Jacob Gershman explain why people should have seen it coming. But they winnow in on Spitzer's credentials as a "New Democrat," which seem less important than his messiah complex. Spitzer's tumble (it's not a "fall"--the next election is in 2010) reminds me of the latter, pre-9/11 days of Rudy Giuliani, when he picked enormous fights to build his national conservative credentials and convinced most of the city that he was a crazy person.
Empire state conservatives and libertarians have been warning us for years of Spitzer's thuggery, of course. I'm chagrined for giving him the benefit of the doubt. Lesson learned.