Catt county

Seven Democrats vying to run against U.S. Rep. Tom Reed blasted the Corning Republican’s vote for the House GOP tax plan during an Ithaca forum on Thursday.

Two of the candidates, Jamestown attorney Eddie Sundquist and Charles Whalen of Geneva, issued statements shortly after Reed cast his vote for the Tax Cut and Jobs Act on Thursday.

Reed, the three-term congressman who is a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, says the House bill would protect the property tax deductions of 99 percent of district taxpayers and result in an average of $1,600 in federal tax savings annually.

Five of the nine New York Republicans in the House voted against the tax bill.

In his statement Thursday, Sundquist said, “The bill Rep. Reed voted for today eliminates the SALT (state and local tax) deduction for income tax, which will be disastrous for middle-class New Yorkers. … Tom Reed's vote today shows he doesn't care about the people here. He only cares about getting a tax cut for himself, his billionaire donors, and Donald Trump.”

Sundquist said, if elected, he will “have the back of New York families. Instead of appeasing the rich, I will work tirelessly to bring jobs, healthcare and an end to the opioid crisis for our home."

Whalen, who formerly worked for the Congressional Budget Office and now works in economic development, said Thursday, “The GOP promised that tax reform would target middle-class families. Now we see that meant working families will take the hit as Republicans reward their wealthy donors. Large corporations and the rich will get a massive handout, while the residents of our district will be left holding the bag.”

AN EARLY QUESTION at the Ithaca candidate forum, sponsored by the Tompkins County Democratic Committee and moderated by the League of Women Voters, dealt with the vote on the House GOP tax plan.

Ithaca businessman Ian Golden called the GOP tax plan “a large bait-and-switch sold by a snake oil salesman.” He said 20 percent of the taxpayers in the district who deducted state and local taxes will end up paying more.

Tracy Mitrano, a former college administrator who is a cyber security consultant from Tompkins County, said the Republican tax bill “is a Trojan horse” because middle-class tax cuts are not permanent, as are those for the wealthy and for large corporations. In addition, there is “the devastation of the Affordable Care Act and the $1 trillion debt being passed to our children.”

At the forum, Sundquist said the GOP tax bill “makes the wealthy wealthier and makes the poor suffer. Most agree we need tax reform, but not at the detriment of the middle class.”

Karl Warrington, a social worker and Presbyterian minister from Naples, said, “It’s disgusting to think we are cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires. We need a tax policy that helps the middle class and small business grow.”

Max Della Pia of Owego, a former Air Force officer and lawyer who has worked for a large defense contractor, said corporations are looking at a 43 percent tax cut as the corporate rate would go from 35 percent to 20 percent.

“The middle-class tax cuts are not permanent,” he said. “It’s trickle down economics. It does not work. What works is tax relief to small business and the middle class” who will spend it.

Rick Gallant, a longtime Corning teacher, said, “This is the wrong way to fix it (taxes). You have to wonder why (some) New York Republicans voted against it.”

The forum, streamed live over the Internet, can be seen on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5Bw9jvcEzc.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)

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