New York Republican Defends His GOP Tax Overhaul Vote

Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) says the tax overhaul bill he voted for is even better after it went through the conference committee with the Senate version. It retains the historic tax credit, which was used to restore the Hotel Syracuse, it no longer taxes the tuition waivers that some graduate students use to pay for school and it allows taxpayers some flexibility on whether they want to deduct their state income, sales or property taxes - capped at $10,000. On top of that, Katko says it's going to stimulate the region's economy. "The analysis is very, very solid - the vast majority of my constituents - particularly the middle class and the working class - are absolutely going to be getting a tax cut here," Katko said. "There's no question about it."

Three Of The Region’s Four Congress Members Vote For Final GOP Tax Overhaul Bill

SYRACUSE (WRVO) - The House of Representatives passed sweeping legislation aimed at rewriting the nation's tax code Tuesday, by a vote of 227-203. 12 Republicans voted against the bill, five of them are from New York. North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Wilsboro), in a statement Monday, said that she could not support the bill because it "does not adequately protect the State and Local Tax deduction that so many in our district and across New York rely on. Due to Albany's failed leadership and inability to rein in spending, New York is one of the highest taxed states in the country, and families here rely on this important deduction to make ends meet. Failure to maintain SALT could lead to more families leaving our region."

Retribution Planned For New York Congress Members Who Voted For The Tax Bill

ALBANY (WSKG) Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who’s vowed to lead a campaign against the state’s Republican Congressional representatives in the 2018 elections, has spent the final weeks of 2017 feuding with them over their votes on the federal tax overhaul bill. Cuomo has been saying for weeks that the overhaul would be “devastating” to New York’s finances and to many of its taxpayers, and he’s called Republican House members who support the plan “traitors” and “Benedict Arnolds.” 

The governor is particularly incensed over the loss of the deduction for state and local taxes, which harms people in relatively high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California. In the hours leading up to the House vote, Cuomo stepped up his rhetoric. In response to a reporter’s question, he said Democrats, including New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, would be “justified” if they threatened to shut down the government when the temporary spending measure runs out at the end of the week, if the tax bill passes.

Finger Lakes Region To Share Nearly $64 Million In State Economic Development Funds

ROCHESTER (WXXI and Associated Press) Communities in New York state are splitting $755 million in state economic development funding. State officials announced the awards Wednesday at an event in Albany. The money will support hundreds of local economic development efforts, including job training, subsidies for expanding businesses and funding for community organizations. This year's big winners include central New York, the Mohawk Valley, the Albany region, the mid-Hudson Valley and Long Island, which each received more than $80 million. The Finger Lakes got this lowest amount this time around, receiving the lowest amount at $63.9 million dollars.

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Eastern PA Democratic Lawmaker Joins Crowded Race For Lieutenant Governor

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- The field for the 2018 lieutenant governor election is filling up, with a number of Democrats jumping into the often-low-key race.  That could mean a tough battle for incumbent Mike Stack, who has struggled through public conflicts with fellow Democrat, Governor Tom Wolf. State representative Madeleine Dean, who has served part of Montgomery County since 2012, is the latest entry to the race. So far, she has avoided bashing other candidates. But asked if the Lieutenant Governor's office has used more resources than it warrants, she offered some criticism that seemed aimed at Stack. "You know, the current climate shows that it has not," she said.

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Will New York’s Warring Democratic Factions Reunite?

ALBANY (WSKG) - The state Democratic Party, led by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is offering carrots and sticks to two rival factions of Democrats in the state Senate in an effort to get them to reunite and potentially rule the chamber. Leaders of the state’s Democratic Party released a letter Monday evening, asking the eight-member breakaway Independent Democratic Conference in the Senate to reunite with the mainstream Democrats. They said in a time where President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress are pursuing policies that might harm New York, “to waste one more minute fighting each other is both unproductive and destructive.” The letter also contains a threat. The party leaders — including state party chair and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Queens Congressman Joseph Crowley — wrote that “if the IDC refuses to accept this offer,” then the state party is prepared to run primaries against the senators in the 2018 elections. Cuomo, speaking Tuesday in Syracuse, said he backs the request.  “I urge both sides to stop their intramural disputes and unify,” Cuomo said.

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Senate Tax Plan Incenses New York’s Anti-Poverty Advocates

ALBANY (WSKG) - The Congressional Budget Office report released Sunday finds that the Senate tax overhaul bill harms the poorest Americans even more than originally thought.  The CBO finds that Americans making $30,000 or less would be worse off under the Senate tax plan by 2019. Those earning $40,000 or less would be net losers under the plan by 2021. And by 2027, U.S. residents who make $75,000 or lower would be worse off under the plan. That’s partly because of the provision to eliminate the federal insurance mandate, which the CBO said would lead to as many as 13 million Americans becoming uninsured and losing federal subsidies to help them buy insurance. The findings have incensed anti-poverty advocates in New York.

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Gas Tax Passes PA House Committee, May Hit A Wall Before Floor Vote

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- State House lawmakers have moved a bill onto the floor calling for a severance tax on natural gas drilling. It's a big step for Democrats and moderate Republicans, who have pushed the tax for years. But there's a good chance the measure will languish without a vote for the foreseeable future.  It would create a tax on the volume of gas taken from the ground, on top of an existing fee for new wells drilled. Its sponsor, moderate Bucks County Representative Gene DiGirolamo, estimated annual revenue between $200 million and $250 million, depending on gas prices. The last time the House moved a severance tax bill was in 2009, when the chamber was briefly controlled by Democrats.