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Faso talks with voters about tax bill


Reprinted with permission from the Times Union

ALBANY–Rep. John Faso (R-19th) said in a telephone town hall Tuesday evening that he remains undecided about how he’ll vote on Republican tax overhaul legislation, with the House expected to take up its version of the later this week.

“The biggest problem I have with this bill is from a federalism standpoint,” the first-term Kinderhook Republican said. “… The taxes that people pay to the state and local governments, subjecting those taxes to what is in essence double taxation.”

“I’m not satisfied, frankly, with [the bill],” he later added. “There are a lot of pieces in it that I do like, but there’s some glaring pieces that I don’t like.”

Officials in New York have focused on state and local tax deductibility. The House and Senate bills have a key difference in that area.

The House bill would cap property tax deductions at $10,000, but eliminate income and sales tax deductions. The proposal has some New York officials fearing serious ramifications on the tax base. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for example, has expressed concern that higher-income New Yorkers will simply leave the state to avoid “double taxation.” Rep. Faso expressed a similar concern Tuesday evening.

Newsday reported that a last-minute proposal from New York Republicans to keep SALT deductions for four years before allowing deductions only for those earning $400,000 or less annually wasn’t welcomed by Republican leaders. Rep. Faso said he was meeting with leadership again Tuesday night to press his case.

The Senate version of the bill scraps SALT deductions.

Mr. Faso noted during the call that standard deductions would be doubled, with joint married filers able to file for $24,000 in itemized deductions. That’s among the points of the plan he likes. Others include:

• Reducing the number of income brackets from seven to four and decreasing tax rates

• Allowing small businesses to write off expenses for equipment and machinery in the year they buy it

• “Rationalizing” the corporate tax system to dissuade companies that do business abroad from keeping profits overseas.

Dislikes include:

• The elimination of deductions for those with high medical bills

• The phasing out of $1,600 in tax credits per child and $300 per adult in an effort to meet Senate rules requirements. Rep. Faso added that he doubts that Congress would let either expire.

He also said he does not support eliminating the Affordable Care Act “individual mandate” (the requirement that most people have health insurance) as part of a tax overhaul plan, as the Senate is proposing. However, Mr. Faso does not support the mandate.

A small cadre of New York Republicans voiced opposition to the House bill. The group includes Rep. Elise Stefanik of Essex County, whose spokesman said last week that the congresswoman would vote no on the legislation in its current form.

To contact Matthew Hamilton email

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