Spitzer Would Raise Taxes, Giuliani Warns Faso Backers

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The New York Sun

Headlining a fund-raiser for the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Mayor Giuliani told donors last night that John Faso would lower taxes, and warned that his Democratic opponent would do the opposite.

In a short speech at the gilded Versailles Room in the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan, Mr. Giuliani, who is mulling a presidential run, said Mr. Faso, who is expected to lose to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in a landslide, would be a “business friendly” governor who can be trusted to lower taxes.

He told donors to “forget about the polls and put your money behind your beliefs.”

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Mr. Giuliani, who also was in Washington and Oregon Monday stumping for Republican candidates, portrayed Mr. Spitzer and the national Democratic Party as favoring policies that are inimical to economic growth, saying the attorney general “will do just the opposite” of Mr. Faso.

“It’s hard to promise all those tremendous spending increases and not turn around as many Democrats do right after they are elected. They say they are not going to raise taxes, and then they say, ‘Oh, my God. I just have to,'” Mr. Giuliani said.

Mr. Spitzer has said he won’t raise taxes as governor, while promising to reduce property taxes and cut the number of uninsured New Yorkers by more than a million people.

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After the event, Mr. Faso told The New York Sun that Mr. Giuliani’s support “shows people that someone who is held in wide esteem … is strongly in my camp.”

About 80 people attended the fundraiser, for which ticket ranged between $300 and $2,500. The Faso campaign, which expected about 120 to show up, would not say how much the event raised. With 27 days to go before the November 7 general election, Mr. Faso has less than a $1 million in the bank, compared with Mr. Spitzer’s $8.5 million. Mr. Giuliani’s Solutions America political action committee has given the Faso campaign $33,900, the maximum allowed under state election law.

This evening, Mr. Faso is scheduled to have a private, $5,000-a-head fundraiser with Governor Pataki at the Four Seasons. On Thursday, he is slated to debate Mr. Spitzer on cable television for the second and last time in the race.

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In a moment that lent a surreal touch to last night’s low-key event, which was shaded with gloom, Mr. Faso also won the endorsement of an 82-year-old Montenegrin great-grandmother, who hijacked the microphone after Mr. Giuliani finished speaking and launched into a mostly indecipherable speech about a “new world order.”

Among the crowd that lingered after the fund-raiser, the no. 1 topic of discussion was the interruption by the elderly woman, Milka Cerovic, a resident of Manhattan. When she stepped up to the dais with a prepared speech, Messrs. Faso and Giuliani asked her step aside but she wouldn’t budge. So, they stood there smiling while she read aloud for three minutes. For the Faso campaign, the proper course of action was far from clear. Should they walk away or try to remove her? What would Mr. Spitzer do? One person suggested that they pretend to be her grandchild and escort her away. Ultimately, the audience decided the best strategy would be to applaud until she stopped talking.

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