Faso solicits input on tax overhaul from businesses, local officials

Rep. John Faso held two conference calls on Thursday afternoon to discuss the potential impact of Republicans’ tax overhaul plans with business leaders and elected officials in his congressional district, his office said afterward.

Each call lasted 30 to 45 minutes, a spokesman said. The Kinderhook Republican plans to solicit input next from the public at large in New York’s 19th Congressional District, although that call has not been scheduled yet. His office says that call will be open to any residents of his district, which includes Ulster and Sullivan counties.

Faso announced the calls Thursday afternoon, saying his goals for the tax proposal were to “get our economy moving again, increase worker paychecks, incentivize small business investment and ensure New York families are better off.”

“I am committed to fighting for hardworking taxpayers and creating a fairer tax code for all,” Faso said in a statement.

Two top New York Democrats – Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Charles Schumer – have been slamming the House bill for curtailing and ending deductions that are vital to taxpayers in high-tax states like New York. They point out the tax overhaul President Trump has trumpeted as a “major, major tax cut” actually would raise taxes for some middle-class families to help pay for the business taxes that the plan would slash.

In the latest salvo, Schumer pointed out on Thursday that the version Senate Republicans are preparing would be even worse for New York, since it would eliminate the deduction for property taxes rather than cap it at $10,000, as the House bill proposed. The House bill also would kill the deduction for state income taxes, forcing workers to pay taxes twice on the same income.

“It is crystal clear: Republicans are on a fast track to fully eliminate the state and local tax deduction, which would be disastrous for New Yorkers who rely on the savings from these deduction for home repairs, groceries, school supplies, or even the yearly vacation,” Schumer said in a statement. “The bottom line is this money belongs in the pockets of New Yorkers, and with the Senate now looking to eliminate SALT, it’s even more important that New York’s House members stand up for New York and vote no next week.”

Citing an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Schumer said the House bill would raise federal income taxes for 14 percent of New York taxpayers next year and for 27 percent of New Yorkers by 2027.

Cuomo, in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, declared:  “The tax plan is a tax break for corporations. It’s a tax break for the richest Americans. It’s exactly the opposite of what they promised when they ran in the campaign. It was supposed to be about the middle class and the working men and women of this country. And they’ve given us trickle down on steroids.”

Schumer, in a joint release with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Thursday, offered an illustration of how the Republicans’ plan to nearly double the standard deduction is no help at all to New Yorkers who now itemize deductions for property taxes, mortgage interest, state income taxes and personal exemptions of more than $4,000 for each household member ($20,250 for a family of five). Personal exemptions would end under the House bill.

In Schumer’s example, the House bill would raise taxes by $1,249 for a couple with three children, a $75,000 household income and a hefty $10,000 in medical expenses that year (another deduction the House bill would eliminate).

The same press release listed the percentages of taxpayers in each of New York’s 27 congressional districts that use the state and local tax deduction and their average SALT deduction. In Faso’s 19th District, it was 31 percent of taxpayers and a $12,501 average deduction.

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    Chris McKenna

    Chris McKenna covers Orange County government and politics for the Times Herald-Record. He has been a reporter at the newspaper since 1999. Read Full
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