Local officials oppose GOP tax bill
Left to right: Rep. King (NY-2), Rep. Zeldin (NY-1) and Rep. Suozzi (NY-3).

Courtesy photo

Local officials oppose GOP tax bill

Story By: TARA SMITH
11/29/2017


Yesterday, Congressmen Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), Peter King (R, NY-2) and Tom Suozzi (D, NY-3) were joined by state and local officials and area businesses at the Internal Revenue Service in Hauppauge for a press conference highlighting their concerns with the current version of the GOP tax reform plan and outlining ways to improve the legislation.

Earlier this month, House Republicans passed their version of an extensive $1.5 trillion tax reform bill that will cut taxes for corporations and small businesses and lower individual rates in the hopes of stimulating economic growth. The bill would also largely eliminate state and local deductions in excess of $10,000. It passed in a 227-205 vote, with both Long Island GOP congressmen opposed, but faces an uncertain outcome in the Senate.

“While I like many aspects of this tax reform plan, too many Long Islanders would not see the tax relief they desperately need and deserve,” Zeldin said after the press conference. “This fight is not over. I look forward to continuing negotiations to improve this proposal for my constituents. If I’m not fighting for my home state and my home district, I cannot expect another member of Congress from some other state to do that for me.”

King noted that eliminating deductions would hurt working families all over Long Island. “We give far more to Washington than we get back. For every dollar we give, we get $.79 back. That’s a $48 billion shortfall and hurts our middle-class Long Islanders,” he said.

James Skidmore, general manager and co-owner of Toast Coffeehouse in Patchogue and president of the Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, also attended the press conference. “I am always pleased when our political parties are working together,” he said. “As chamber president and a small business owner, this tax plan hinders our opportunity to pay a fair wage and expand and grow our businesses. Both opportunities are necessary to improve the quality of life for all Long Islanders.”

Other officials, including Suffolk County comptroller John Kennedy, NYS Sen. Tom Croci  and Brookhaven Town supervisor Ed Romaine, were also in attendance to oppose the bill.

After the press conference on Tuesday, Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone published a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to block the legislation, citing concerns over rising taxes for middle-class families. In the letter, Bellone cites the Long Island Association, a business organization, suggesting that the bill could result in a cumulative tax increase of $4.4 billion on Long Island. “As a native New Yorker, you understand better than most people in Washington, that what is considered middle class in Madison or Louisville is not the same as in Medford or Melville,” Bellone writes. “These middle-class and working-class families cannot and should not be asked to shoulder an even larger federal tax burden in order to subsidize tax cuts in other parts of the country.”

The Senate could vote as soon as the end of this week on the GOP tax bill, and as of Wednesday morning, Republicans can only afford to lose two votes before the bill is killed.