Here's the dueling press releases sent out by incumbent Dem Kathy Hochul (below, on the left) and Republican challenger Chris Collins, the former Erie County Executive (below, on the right)
The announcements come as Republicans controlling the House have passed a bill to extend tax cuts due to expire Dec. 31, officially laying down their marker in an election-year showdown with President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies over whether to raise taxes on wealthier earners and people who inherit million dollar-plus estates. It also comes around the same time as Pres. Obama and Mitt Romney push economic themes in key states
The GOP plan passed Wednesday would renew a full package of Bush-era tax cuts when they expire at the end of the year, but Obama has promised to veto the measure. The president insists on letting the cuts expire on income after the first $200,000 earned by individuals and the first $250,000 made by couples. The vote was 256-171.
REPRESENTATIVE HOCHUL CALLS ON CHRIS COLLINS TO SUPPORT MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUTS
Extending Tax Cuts for Incomes Under $500,000 Would Help Reduce Deficit
Clarence, NY -- Today, in advance of next week’s likely votes on extending the Bush tax cuts, Kathy Hochul called on her opponent Chris Collins to support plans to extend tax cuts for those making less than $500,000, while requiring the wealthiest two percent of Americans to pay their fair share.
"Republicans and Democrats agree that it’s vital that we keep middle class taxes low,” said Representative Kathy Hochul. “Instead of advocating for tax cuts for the super-rich that would add $1 trillion to the deficit, Mr. Collins should join me in supporting a plan to extend the middle class tax cuts. This plan would protect small businesses and ensure that millionaires and billionaires are paying their fair share."
Hochul has been a vocal advocate for a bi-partisan effort to extend the middle class tax cuts, while also addressing the nation's growing debt crisis. To that end, Rep. Hochul has worked with Republicans and Democrats to make responsible spending cuts while returning tax rates to 2001 levels for those making more than $500,000.
In her first year in office, Rep. Hochul was the only Democrat from New York to support the Balanced Budget Amendment, and she supported a bi-partisan bill to cut $2.4 trillion in deficit spending. In addition, Hochul has consistently voted to cut aid to foreign countries like Pakistan, and to end subsidies to corporations that ship jobs overseas. She has also supported efforts to eliminate duplicative and wasteful government programs.
"Only by working together with Democrats and Republicans to eliminate tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and to cut government spending will we balance the budget, protect our seniors and the middle class families, and strengthen our economy," said Hochul.
Chris Collins supports tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. According to a Collins campaign press release, “Collins supports a full extension of the tax cuts.” [Collins Press Release, 7/9/2012]
Chris Collins’ plan to extend tax cuts across the board would add nearly $1 trillion to the deficit and benefit only the richest Americans. According to the non-partisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, “Extending the tax cuts on incomes in excess of $250,000 would add nearly $1 trillion to deficits over 2013 to 2022, but benefit only about the highest-income 2 percent of households.” They also noted “more than 80 percent of the value of the upper-income tax cuts would go to people who make more than $1 million a year.” [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/19/2012]
One of the first things Chris Collins did as County Executive: fight for the second biggest property tax hike in a decade and say it was a “small price to pay” for a balanced budget. According to the Buffalo News, “Collins' budget would lift the total amount of property taxes needed for county purposes in 2009 by 8 percent, or nearly $16 million. It would be the decade's second-largest increase.” In that same article Collins himself noted, “‘I expect that the public will realize that this is a small price to pay to have a balanced budget in these economic times.’” [Buffalo News, 10/14/2008]
Kathy Hochul split with her party and the President to vote for a package of small business tax cuts. Hochul was one of 18 Democrats to cross the aisle and vote for a $46 billion tax cut for small businesses. ABC News said of the vote, “the House of Representatives voted today to pass a $46 billion small business tax cut that Republicans hope will lead to economic growth by enabling entrepreneurs to deduct 20 percent of their income.” [ABC News, 4/19/2012; Roll Call Vote 177, 4/19/2012]
Collins Calls on Hochul to Support Middle Class, Small Business Tax Cuts
Sends Letter Urging Hochul to Stand up to Obama
(Clarence, NY) - Small business owner Chris Collins today released a letter to Congresswoman Kathy Hochul asking her to join with him and stand up to President Barack Obama’s plan to pass a devastating tax increase which would instantly raise taxes on nearly 1 million small businesses nationwide, including thousands in the 27th Congressional District and eliminate the Child Tax Credit and the Marriage Penalty Tax Relief.
“As someone who has spent a career in the private sector, I have seen firsthand the devastating effects tax increases have on the ability of small businesses to thrive and create good paying jobs for Western New York families. I am one of the countless small business owners who have forgone a salary to meet a payroll, and ensure that their employees can cash a paycheck. That’s why I know how crippling any tax increase on small businesses can be,” Collins wrote.
“That’s also why I am proposing a plan that I hope we can work on together to introduce and pass in Washington to protect middle class families and small businesses...while I know you have embraced the President and his policies, I am urging you to break ranks with him just once, and support this plan which actually encourages growth, cuts taxes on middle class families and small businesses, and establishes a forward-looking plan to rebuilding the American economy,” Collins continued.
On Wednesday, the House is expected to vote on a one year extension of the 2001 & 2003 middle class and small business tax cuts. Failure to extend the tax cuts would result in a massive tax increase on families and small businesses at the end of 2012.
In addition, the measure includes protecting the Child Tax Credit at its current level and continuing the relief from the Marriage Penalty. Previously, Congresswoman Hochul has stated her opposition to the measure being considered by the House. (Hochul Press Release, July 27, 2012)
The full text of Collins letter is included below:
July 30, 2012
The Honorable Kathy Hochul
325 Essjay Road
Williamsville, NY 14221
Dear Congresswoman Hochul:
I am writing to you today both as a constituent and a small business owner who employs hundreds of Western New Yorkers, many of whom reside in the 27th Congressional District.
As someone who has spent a career in the private sector, I have seen firsthand the devastating effects tax increases have on the ability of small businesses to thrive and create good paying jobs for Western New York families. I am one of the countless small business owners who have forgone a salary to meet a payroll, and ensure that their employees can cash a paycheck. That’s why I know how crippling any tax increase on small businesses can be.
That’s also why I am proposing a plan that I hope we can work on together to introduce and pass in Washington to protect middle class families and small businesses.
Unfortunately, our current economic status has stagnated as a result of President Barack Obama’s failed economic policies. And while I know you have embraced the President and his policies, I am urging you to break ranks with him just once, and support this plan which actually encourages growth, cuts taxes on middle class families and small businesses, and establishes a forward-looking plan to rebuilding the American economy.
1. Extend the 2001 & 2003 Small Business and Middle-Class Tax Cuts.
First, we must extend the 2001 and 2003 small business and middle class tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of this year. While I know you have not owned, run or managed a small business, I can assure you that any increase in taxes on small businesses would be devastating to the economy. As the Joint Committee on Taxation cited, failure to extend these tax cuts would instantly raise taxes on nearly 1 million small businesses - including thousands in the 27th Congressional District. It will cost us the very jobs we so desperately need.
In addition, voting against extending these tax cuts would raise taxes on married couples, families with children, and entry-level employees looking to establish themselves and build their careers. Failure to extend these tax cuts would raise taxes on just about everyone - and that’s simply not right.
2. Reduce the small-business and corporate tax rate to 25%
We are the highest taxed nation in the world. Simply put, that means fewer jobs, less growth and a future that grows increasingly less secure. By reducing the top tax rate on small businesses and corporations, we can give companies certainty, jump-start their businesses, and free up critically needed capital for them to re-invest in their facilities, research and development, and human resources. By giving small businesses more after-tax income, we will see a new investment in our crippled economy.
3. Consolidate Tax Brackets and Create a Smarter, Simpler Tax Code
The American tax system is cumbersome, complicated and confusing. Small businesses would exponentially benefit from a smarter, simpler tax code. One of the first things we can do is consolidate the current 6 tax brackets into three tax brackets, none of which tax individuals and small businesses at a rate higher than 25%, This would free entrepreneurs and owners to focus on growing their businesses and serving customers, not worrying about the IRS and whether they filled out every bureaucratic form correctly.
4. Eliminate the Death and Alternative Minimum Tax
Hidden taxes like the AMT and the death tax are part of the reason why our economy is stalling and cannot grow. By double-taxing family farms and small businesses when they are passed from generation to generation, we are penalizing success. And, by keeping in place the AMT, we are imposing stealth taxes on middle class families, who know how to spend their money better than the government. By eliminating these taxes, we can free up capital and equip a new generation of entrepreneurs and dreamers to build a better future for themselves and their families.
I realize that we are locked in an aggressive battle for the 27th Congressional district. But once in awhile, politics must take a backseat to fixing the future of our country. I hope you will join me and sponsor this plan in Congress to get our economy moving again. I look forward to working with you on this.
Small Business Owner
Meanwhile, Across America
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is launching a tough new tax-equality pitch in a television advertisement asserting that Republican rival Mitt Romney's economic proposals would mean cuts for the wealthiest Americans and higher bills for everyone else.
The latest offensive comes as Obama and Romney take their respective election campaigns to three of the most contested states — Florida, Colorado and Virginia — and as a bitterly divided Congress pushes toward a summer recess with votes that center on front-burner issues like taxes and spending but which are mostly symbolic place-holders for November.
The Obama campaign ad, which will be aired in eight states including the two the president was visiting Thursday, cites a report by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center that argues Romney has paid a lower proportion of his income in taxes than many people of lesser means. "He pays less, you pay more," the ad says.
Obama was traveling to Florida and Virginia on Thursday and Romney was headed to Colorado, where he was to appear with 10 Republican governors, some mentioned as potential running mates, at an event near Aspen.
In the capital, the Republican-controlled House on Wednesday cast partisan votes on tax measures that also underscored Washington's political stalemate. Led by the GOP, the House approved a universal extension of Bush-era tax cuts, just a week after the Democratic-controlled Senate voted in favor of Obama's plan for continuing current tax rates only for households earning less than $250,000 or for individuals under $200,000.
With the tax issue dominating the current debate, Obama was visiting two states that represent the bookends of the national economy. Florida is among the states hardest hit by the housing bust and has an unemployment rate of 8.6 percent, higher than the national average and tied for 39th among the 50 states. Virginia, on the other hand, has the 10th lowest unemployment at 5.6 percent.
Colorado, where Romney was to give a campaign address at a fairgrounds in Golden before joining Republican governors at high school in Basalt, has been struggling with a jobless rate equal to the national average of 8.2 percent. For Romney, the trip west is his first political campaign appearance since returning from an overseas trip heavy on foreign policy.
As if to emphasize the challenge facing the presidential contenders, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday said the U.S. economy was losing strength. The Fed took no new action to boost the economy, but it appeared to signal an inclination to take steps to stimulate job creation if the economic deceleration continued.
The next major marker of economic health comes Friday, when the government announces July hiring and unemployment trends.
Economists forecast that U.S. employers added 100,000 jobs in July. That would be slightly better than the 75,000-a-month average from April through June but still below the healthy 226,000 average in the first three months of the year.
Romney's appearance with governors would not only create a show of force, but it also would underscore his own role as a former governor of Massachusetts. And it would tease speculation about his pick for a running mate, as those with him will include governors such as New Jersey's Chris Christie, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, South Carolina's Nikki Haley and Virginia's Bob McDonnnell, all of whom have been mentioned as possible Romney picks. Absent will be two of the most often mentioned possibilities, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Obama was headed to Orlando to make up for an appearance he postponed last month after the shooting tragedy in Aurora, Colo. Orlando is in the middle of a Florida swath that separates the Republican-leaning north of the state and the Democratic-leaning south.
He then will take his message of higher taxes for rich Americans to Leesburg, Va., in the nation's wealthiest county, near Washington, D.C. Obama carried the county in 2008, the first time a Democratic presidential candidate won there in four decades.