Editorial: Faso, Stefanik step up with ‘no’ on tax bill vote

Reflects pain it would have inflicted on New York taxpayers
Reps. John Faso and Rep. Elise Stefanik.
Reps. John Faso and Rep. Elise Stefanik.

When Rep. John Faso and Rep. Elise Stefanik voted for a health care bill that they knew would hurt New York state, we questioned their loyalty.

Were they loyal to the national Republican Party machine, or to the citizens of their respective districts and the state, the people they were elected to represent in Congress?

On health care, they gave the wrong answer, by supporting a bill that would have been deprived 1 million New Yorkers of adequate health care and cost taxpayers nearly $7 billion over five years, causing severe financial stress for the state. 

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But on the tax plan, which threatens a major tax credit for millions of New Yorkers, they stepped up and voted against the bill. It’s only fair that if they’re going to be criticized for doing the wrong thing that they be commended for doing the right thing.

Both Faso, R-Kinderhook, and Stefanik, R-Willsboro, were among  13 Republican members of Congress who voted against their party and for the taxpayers of New York by voting against the proposed House Republican-supported tax plan on Thursday.

We understand their vote might not qualify for a chapter in the updated edition of “Profiles in Courage.” The measure passed by a comfortable 227-205.

So it’s quite possible, the way politics works, that the House Republican leadership was OK with these particular representatives voting no in order to appease their constituents, knowing they had locked up enough votes needed for passage without Stefanik’s and Faso’s votes.

But our local representatives really did more than vote no. Both outwardly criticized the plan in statements prior to the vote.

Faso said flat out that the proposed tax plan did not meet all the goals of increasing economic growth, increasing worker paychecks, incentivizing business investment and ensuring that New York families are better off.

He was particularly hard on the proposal to eliminate the so-called SALT deduction, which is the federal tax deduction for state and local taxpayers.

Voting for a bill that would reduce or eliminate that deduction in our heavily taxed state would have hurt a lot of his constituents and a lot of other New Yorkers.

Or course, he also got in some shots at Democrats, particularly Gov. Andrew Cuomo and “Albany,” for not doing enough to reduce New Yorkers’ tax  and regulatory burden.

Like Faso, Stefanik stated her concern about cutting the SALT deductions in justifying her no vote, and also took a poke at state government for its spending habits and high tax burden.

In the meantime, we commend Faso and Stefanik for having the courage to support their constituents over their party, and we hope they will continue to speak out strongly against provisions of the bill that will hurt New Yorkers.

After all, that’s what we elected them to do.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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