Adirondack Daily Enterprise - STEFANIK SAYS TAX BILL WILL HURT N.Y., WILL VOTE NO

http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/news/local-news/2017/12/stefanik-says-tax-bill-will-hurt-n-y-will-vote-no/

Elise Stefanik, northern New York’s U.S. representative, revealed Monday that she will vote “no” on the GOP’s final, consolidated tax bill making its way into both houses of Congress today.

The Republican congresswoman opposed the initial House bill because she said it would only exacerbate New York’s already high taxes, and opposes the collaborative bill for the same reason.

Stefanik’s main objection to the bill is a $10,000 cap on the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction, which allows taxpayers to deduct state and local property, income or sales taxes when calculating federal income taxes, preventing double taxation. (Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said the consolidated tax bill would eliminate the deduction of income and sales taxes and cap the property tax deduction.)

Trump has called the deduction “unfair” because it means high-tax states shift some of their tax burden to states like Indiana and Iowa. An October report from Thomas DiNapoli, New York’s state comptroller, revealed the state pays on average 50 percent more in revenues to the federal government per capita than Indiana and Iowa. The same report showed that states benefiting most from SALT are more likely to be considered “new donors,” meaning the state pays more in federal taxes than it receives in a fiscal year.

In a letter Stefanik and six of her colleagues sent to U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin in June, it was written that rolling back the SALT deduction was estimated to reduce long-run gross domestic product by 0.4 percent and lead to a loss of more than 200,000 jobs.

The letter also stated that New York would be hit hardest by this elimination, as 3.2 million residents, primarily lower- and middle-income homeowners, claim the deduction.

“Due to Albany’s failed leadership and inability to rein in spending, New York is one of the highest taxed states in the country, and families here rely on this important deduction to make ends meet,” Stefanik wrote in a press release. “Failure to maintain SALT could lead to more families leaving our region.”

Despite Stefanik’s “no” vote, earlier versions of the bill passed the Republican-controlled House, 227 to 205 and the Republican-controlled Senate 51 to 49. Since then the two houses have collaborated to create a cohesive tax bill, blending elements of each house’s version.

Stefanik’s Communications Director Tom Flanagin wrote in an email that she supports reducing the corporate tax rate, doubling the personal exemption to provide tax relief for families, maintaining the medical expense deduction and the ability for teachers to deduct their out-of-pocket costs. These are all portions of the tax bill she would like to implement without eliminating SALT or environmental protections.

When asked if Stefanik has called other congresspeople to convince them to vote alongside her or in she plans to speak on the House floor to gain more support for her position in Congress, Flanagin replied, “She has joined her colleagues on several letters to leadership and negotiators throughout the process about her position on tax reform.”

Candidates running against Stefanik in New York’s 21st Congressional District next November were encouraged by her “no” vote but said that without further campaigning for fellow congresspeople to follow, it will doubtfully impact the overall vote.

“If Elise really opposes this tax bill, she should be out on the floor rounding up more ‘no’ votes and protecting hard working families,” Democrat Katie Wilson of Keene wrote in an email. “I’d like to see her stand up for what she truly believes in and be brave enough to admit that tax breaks for corporations are in line with her values. I think voters here in the North Country would rather someone be honest and proudly disagree with them than hide behind talking points and refuse to share a position until permission is granted from above.”

“This bill does nothing to benefit the hardworking men and women of the North Country, rather it will be a gift to Republican donors and the wealthy lowering the tax rate for corporations and the top 1 percent of earners,” Democrat Don Boyajian of Cambridge wrote in a Facebook message. “Representative Stefanik’s ‘no’ vote against this bill, knowing it will easily pass the House without her support, is a hollow gesture that does nothing real for our District.”

“Stefanik voted to close rural hospitals, and reverse prohibitions on industrial pollution so she does not get a blue ribbon for opposing the most hyper-partisan and destructive tax bill in modern history,” Democrat Tedra Cobb of Canton wrote in an email.

“While Ms. Stefanik should be given credit for announcing she will vote against this tax scam, her opposition was weak and ineffectual,” Democrat Ronald Kim of Queensbury wrote in an email. “Rather than merely standing by and watching Republicans fall all over themselves as they reward their wealthy donors with tax breaks, she should have taken to the House floor and educated her fellow members on how the tax scam will impact the residents of the North Country. That would have been real leadership.”

“I am glad to see that she’ll be voting against this irresponsible piece of legislation,” Democrat Patrick Nelson of Stillwater said. “I think there are many other reasons beside the SALT deduction to be against it … like the fact that it’s based on an economic fraud in trickle-down economics. If you support this bill and you think it’s going to grow the economy, you don’t understand how economics work.”

“1) Working families get minimal tax relief under the bill — and that relief is only temporary. Five percent of taxpayers will see their taxes increase next year, up to 53 percent in 2027,” Democrat Tanya Boone of Granville wrote in an email. “2) Over half the tax benefit of this bill will go to the wealthiest 5 percent of income earners, 3) there is no requirement that corporate tax savings will result in investment in new jobs and higher wages. In fact, many CEO’s have been very clear they have no intention to do so, 4) the heirs of the super wealthy get a huge tax break that increases the deficit with no benefit for the rest of us.”

“It’s is a regressive tax plan. The largest increases in income as a result of the tax cuts go to those making between $200,000 and $1 million, and in the North Country nearly 80 percent of tax filings in 2014 reported income less than $75,000,” Democrat Emily Martz of Saranac Lake wrote in an email. “If the incumbent were spending meaningful time in the region, she would realize that it is the overall structure of the bill that hurts her constituents most, not the single item she is pointing to.”

“Given that I am being asked to make a statement prior to the actual vote. Plus the climate of last minute deals, kick backs, and political head fakes for media exposure, I will not speak on conjecture and speculation. Therefore I will reserve any comments until after the actual vote occurs,” Republican Russell Finley of Madrid wrote in an email.

Patrick Nelson