Work Week with Congressman Faso
 Merry Christmas and have a happy holiday season 

Tax Reform has Positive Provisions, but SALT Changes are Harmful to New York

From the beginning, I wanted to support a tax reform plan that would increase economic growth, increase worker paychecks, incentivize small business investment, and ensure New York families are better off. Unfortunately, this plan did not meet all of those criteria.

I remain concerned that as a result of the state’s high income and property taxes, the partial elimination of the SALT deduction effective January 1, 2018 impacts New York families more severely than those in other states. These families have already made financial decisions based on this deduction, and to have it removed without any chance to prepare is unfair.

It's important to recognize that this bill does make positive changes in our tax code that will help American businesses of all sizes and their workers compete in the global economy. In addition, there will be many families and small businesses in the 19th district that will receive a tax cut under this legislation. However, the overall impact of changes to the SALT deduction will accelerate the trend of hardworking individuals and businesses already leaving our state – further eroding New York’s tax base.

I am pleased that changes I advocated for were made to the medical expense deduction, higher education affordability benefits, and private activity bonds in this final version in comparison to the House bill. Each of these provisions were primary concerns of mine because of their impact on families, students, and local economic development.


New Yorkers Moving to Other States at Rapid Pace

One million more New Yorkers have moved out of the state than have moved here from other states since 2010. High local taxes and regulatory burdens are driving people and successful businesses from our state to lower taxed states.

At the federal level, I am working to support policies that will help slow down and reverse that trend by making our state more competitive and would allow families and businesses to stay and grow in New York.


Forecasting the Impact of Tax Reform 

People all across the 19th district have asked me how tax reform will affect them, their families, or their small businesses. While it is not an official government tool, different publications and organizations have produced tax calculators that inform how the tax reform bill may affect New Yorkers: Here is one example - http://taxplancalculator.com/. The New York Times has also created a tax calculator to help forecast for 2018: New York Times tax calculator.

While I hoped tax reform would be beneficial to all Upstate New York families, the changes to the state and local income tax deduction fail to meet the threshold needed to for me to support this legislation. 


Enduring Recognition of Maurice Hinchey’s Public Service

I teamed up with Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) to introduce legislation to rename the post office in Saugerties, NY after former U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey.

Maurice Hinchey was a fierce defender of the environment and a steadfast advocate for the causes he believed in and the people he served. I was proud to serve alongside him in the State Assembly. Naming his hometown post office after Maurice will be an enduring recognition of his lifetime of service to the people of Saugerties and Ulster County.


Stopgap Funding to Avoid a Government Shutdown

The short-term package voted on yesterday was necessary, but disappointing in that critical issues that should have been completed by the end of the year are being delayed until January. It is important to note that the House has passed all 12 appropriations bills prior to the October 1 deadline, but the US Senate hasn’t passed a single appropriations measure due to failure of Senate Democrats to permit debate on appropriations. Senate rules require 60 votes in order to take up legislation and due to such obstruction, none of the appropriations measures have even cleared committee in the Senate. 

Of particular concern is failure of Democrats to adopt a defense appropriations bill which has a pay raise for the troops and increased funding for training and readiness.  This latter issue is particularly important given the serious accidents occurring among Navy ships in Asia over the last few months. 

In addition, we need a long-term reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and community health center funding, yet Democrats in the Senate continue to block consideration of a bill the House passed over a month ago. This stopgap bill will fund the CHIP program until March 30, 2018, giving states short-term assurance of continued funding. 

Finally, I’m disappointed that the DACA program was not addressed. However, I am encouraged that there is a building bipartisan consensus that DACA will be addressed in January. I am hoping that when Congress returns in January, legislation providing for DACA people and border security can be enacted.


Protecting Organics Producers from Fraud Foreign Imposters

The Washington Post has a good story on fraudulent organics and my bill to crack down on frauds. We must protect consumers and support the organics industry, and the jobs it creates, by preventing fraud organics from entering the marketplace.

Organics producers are a crucial and growing sector of Upstate New York’s economy. My bill helps protect our Upstate New York organics producers and preserves the integrity of the organic label.
 


 
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