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Audio Feature: This week in news for Rep. John Faso: 20171107

Nov 04, 2017 9:56 am
Here's the week in the news for Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook), the District 19 Congressperson for the WGXC listening area. Faso returned to Washington D.C. this week where Fivethirtyeight.com currently reports Faso votes with Donald Trump's positions 88.2 percent of his votes. Click here to download or play an audio version of this report (6:02).

Mathew Hamilton is reporting in the Times Union on the trend among second-home owning Democrats whose main base of operations may be elsewhere to register and vote upstate. It is still unclear how the trend will impact registrations in the 19th Congressional District. NY 19 Votes, an activist group, started a website in July called Smart Vote NY to help drive registration of those with a second address upstate. The group will send pre-stamped voter registration forms to those who use the website to help ease the transition, NY 19 Votes Campaign Director Dustin Reidy said. National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Chris Martin said of the effort, "These shady political tactics epitomize the desperation of a divided and leaderless Democratic Party." The GOP has used the carpetbagger claim in past election cycles, including the contest between Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout and Kinderhook native John Faso. Many of the candidates lining up to unseat Faso in 2018, have already made a point of stressing their roots in the region, even as some have lived elsewhere in the recent past. Asked about downstate voters registering here, Gareth Rhodes of Ulster County said the race will be decided by the residents of the district "...who have been betrayed by Faso's votes to take away...health care and [to] pollute our environment." A spokeswoman for Dutchess County resident Antonio Delgado said, "Antonio supports people registering and voting wherever they’re eligible to do so.” Brian Flynn of Greene County similarly said, “People should decide for themselves where it’s appropriate for them to register to vote.” Jeff Beals of Greene County and Pat Ryan of Ulster County both declined to comment. A representative for Dave Clegg of Ulster County did not respond to a request for comment. Read the full story in the Times Union and at the CapCon Notebook.

Candace Dunkley reports in Spectrum that Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook) had a public event with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Ulster County on Oct. 30. The event, in Espopus, was not listed on his "public schedule" on his website. FBI Albany Division Special Agent in Charge Vadim Thomas discussed "keeping houses of worship safe from terrorist attacks and other acts of violence," according to the report. Thomas discussed both foreign terrorist groups from the Islamic State and domestic white supremacists. Last week a fire destroyed the Taghkanic home that was the target of hate speech vandalism in June. Click here to play a brief recording of Faso speaking with Spectrum Oct. 30 in Ulster County.

Ariél Zangla reports in The Daily Freeman that U.S. Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook) predicts President Donald Trump will not interfere in the ongoing federal investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. “I certainly don’t expect interference,” from the White House, Faso said in a phone interview Oct. 31. Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation should proceed, and “let the chips fall where they may,” Faso said. On Oct. 30 Mueller indicted Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Manafort business partner Rick Gates. The arrest of former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, was also released to the public Oct. 30. Faso said he had not, “seen any indication that would lead me to make [the] conclusion” that the White House would interfere with the investigation, and said Mueller has so far acted with integrity. “I’ve seen nothing to question it,” he said. Read the full story in The Daily Freeman.

Barnini Chakraborty reports for Fox News that the Republican tax plan was announced Nov. 2, and it "trims deductions for state and local taxes." The plan limits the deductibility of local property taxes to $10,000 and eliminates the deduction for state income taxes. Some New York House Republicans, such as Lee Zeldin, immediately denounced the plan for raising taxes on New Yorkers. Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook) released a long statement Nov. 2 that seemed to support the tax plan, saying it does not give large tax breaks to the rich at the expense of the middle class. But he also said, "I continue to be concerned regarding the impact on New York state due to the elimination of state tax deductibility." Faso voted against the tax plan framework last week, though Democrats in the U.S. House noted he waited until the measure had enough votes to pass before casting his no vote. Read the story at Fox News and Faso's full statement on the WGXC Newsroom.

Rep. John Faso's full statement on the Republican tax plan:

Every worker, family, and small business owner knows our tax code does not work, is too complicated, and forces them to send more of their money to Albany and Washington, D.C. than they should. My goal for tax reform is to get our economy moving again, increase worker paychecks, incentivize small business investment and ensure New York families are better off. The plan released today begins that process by lowering the tax rates and expanding the tax brackets, doubling the standard deduction to $24,000 for married couples, maintaining the ability to deduction charity donations, mortgage interest and a portion of your property taxes. I remain concerned about the elimination of the deduction for state income taxes and will continue to advocate for such a policy and ensure this plan works for New York middle class families.

In the 19th Congressional District, approximately 32% of tax filers itemize deductions, typically for mortgage interest, charitable donations and state and local taxes. With the doubling of the standard deduction for married couples to $24,000, I expect a reduction in the number of taxpayers who chose to itemize deductions if this plan was adopted. In addition, the plan raises the Child Tax Credit from $1000 per child to $1600 per child while also providing a $300 credit for each parent and non-child dependent. These changes will save families money.

I also recognize that there will be attacks that this plan is only to help the “rich” and nothing can be further from the truth. The highest income earners will continue to face the highest taxes and the plan maintains the top tax bracket. Democrat critics need to revise their class warfare playbook as most benefits accrue to middle class taxpayers and small businesses.

Today’s plan also allows American businesses to compete in the global economy on a level playing field by reducing the corporate rate from 35% to 20% to bring the US into range of other industrialized nations that our workers are competing against. The plan would also help US corporations to bring profits home from overseas (repatriation) that will lead to more investment and jobs in the United States. Again, more corporate investment will mean more US jobs and higher paychecks.

Changes of this magnitude will of course be controversial and as I review the details of the legislation and work with my colleagues, I encourage everyone to learn how these changes could impact them and their family specifically and not rely on the rhetoric and attacks they will be hearing from all sides. I am committed to helping New York families and businesses throughout this process and as such I continue to be concerned regarding the impact on New York state due to the elimination of state tax deductibility. Albany’s high taxes already are forcing families and businesses to leave our state and I believe that we cannot accelerate this trend as a result of changes to the federal tax code – we all know two wrongs do not make a right. As I work to lower taxes for middle class families and small businesses at the federal level and allow New Yorkers to compete in the global economy, I would hope Governor Cuomo would look at ways to reform the state’s tax and spending and not just attack the work we are doing to lower taxes for middle class families.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has been doing opposition research about the Democratic candidates who want to challenge Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook), and found many of them were registered to vote out of the district in 2016. In fact, the four Democrats who have raised the most money to challenge Faso did not vote in the 19th Congressional District. "Brian Flynn was living in New York City; Antonio Delgado was living in Montclair, New Jersey; Patrick Ryan was living in New York City; Gareth Rhodes was living in Cambridge, Massachusetts," the NRCC press release reports, with links to their voter registrations. In the last two elections in the district, Democrats have ran candidates Sean Eldridge and Zephyr Teachout who both were labeled "carpetbaggers" for their suspect credentials as residents of the district, and both lost.
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