NY-22 Minute: Tenney Defends Tax Cut With Income Numbers Higher than District Norms By Luke Perry
Claudia Tenney described the recently passed Republican tax cut bill she voted for as “a step in the right direction,” though “not perfect,” in formally explaining her vote. Tenney has sought to balance national Republican priorities, such as cutting the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT), with local concerns that doing so would negatively impact New Yorkers, who have higher state income tax rates than most other states.
“Our current tax code is broken. It’s riddled with loopholes and kickbacks that penalize success and hurt hardworking taxpayers. This is why tax reform is a priority for me and this is why I voted to move the debate forward, despite concerns I continue to have regarding the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT).
I advocated so strongly for the SALT deduction because it shields New Yorkers from the oppressive burden Albany places on our taxpayers. Albany politicians have zero respect for the taxpayers. Governor Cuomo and liberals in the Assembly continue to increase our bloated budget while hiking taxes on hardworking New Yorkers. Their harmful habits will never change.
The eight counties I represent have among the highest property tax rates as a percentage of home value in the nation because Albany’s crushing unfunded mandates continue to drive up the cost of living in our state. I have always put the taxpayers I represent first and it is long past time for politicians in Albany to do the same. Now it’s time for Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to lower the state taxes so the federal tax cut has an even larger tangible impact for New Yorkers.
I will continue to make state and local tax deductibility a top priority as this bill heads to conference between the House and Senate.”
In explaining how the bill will work, Tenney stated that: “A married family of four in the 22nd District with a median household income of $85,692 could expect a tax cut of almost $1,900.”
It is unclear why Tenney decided to emphasize this level of median household income, which falls within the top 30 percent for household income nationally and is much higher than the median household incomes for major cities in NY-22, including Binghamton ($29,824), Utica ($30,504), and Rome ($43,423), as well as more affluent suburbs, like Tenney’s hometown of New Hartford ($60,603).
$85,692 is also much higher than the median household income for NY-22 counties:
Broome County $46,261
Chenango County $45,668
Cortland County $49,514
Herkimer County $46,229
Madison County $54,145
Oneida County $48,246
Oswego County $47,860
Tioga County $57,514
Predictions that Tenney’s recent vote “hands the NY-22 to Anthony Brindisi” are premature, though she is in a difficult position. Agreeing to vote in favor “after being lobbied by Vice President Mike Pence” does not help, given the growing unpopularity of the Trump administration in upstate New York. Speaking about income levels that better reflect the norms of NY-22 constituents would help illuminate the implications of the bill.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College.