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ALBANY � The Connecticut attorney general is attempting to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to take a case that could topple a portion of New York’s tax scheme. In an amicus curiae brief, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal urges the justices to grant certiorari to a tax case appeal by law school professor Edward A. Zelinsky, a New York-employed resident of Connecticut. Mr. Zelinsky is challenging on constitutional grounds the controversial “convenience of the employer” rule. The rule imposes New York taxes on some people who live and work in other states, and for Mr. Zelinsky it means double taxation. Mr. Zelinsky, a tax professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in Manhattan, lives in Connecticut and often works from home. Under the New York rule, since he works in Connecticut for his own convenience rather than the need of the law school, he is liable for state taxes on all of his Cardozo income. But Connecticut bases its tax on where the income is earned � in this case Mr. Zelinsky’s home � so he must pay taxes to that state on the same income New York taxes. Mr. Zelinsky claims the tax violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and infringes his right to due process. In November, the New York Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the Appellate Division, Third Department, and rejected Mr. Zelinsky’s claims. Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye wrote that New York “need not subsidize” Mr. Zelinsky for opting to work at home. She said it would be unfair to allow Mr. Zelinsky to avoid a tax paid by his colleagues who work from their homes in New York or at the law school. Now, Mr. Zelinsky is trying to get to the Supreme Court, with some help from the state of Connecticut. Connecticut, like virtually every other Northeast state, is highly critical of New York’s tax law. It has repeatedly urged New York to revise its law to reflect the increasingly common practice of telecommuting. In his brief, Mr. Blumenthal takes issue with Chief Judge Kaye’s assertion that Connecticut is to blame for Mr. Zelinsky’s problem because it does not offer an offset for the tax the professor pays to New York. Rather, he said, the fault lies strictly with a New York provision that the justices in Washington should strike on constitutional grounds. “Thousands of Connecticut telecommuting residents are burdened with the double taxation that is the result of New York’s unconstitutional method of apportionment of their income,” Mr. Blumenthal said in the brief. “This case presents the proper occasion for the Court to end New York’s unfair taxation of nonresidents.” New York has consistently asserted the constitutional validity of its statute. Its courts and administrative tribunals have consistently upheld that assertion. The tax rule at issue nets New York about $100 million annually. Connecticut Assistant Attorney General Mark F. Kohler is attorney of record on the brief. New York is represented by state Assistant Solicitor General Julie S. Mereson.

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