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NOTEBOOK: Stefanik votes against bill to raise tax deductions cap, hike top rate
Politics Week in Review

NOTEBOOK: Stefanik votes against bill to raise tax deductions cap, hike top rate

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U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, last week voted against a bill that would have increased the state and local tax deduction from $10,000 to $20,000 for people filing a joint return and hiked the top marginal tax rate.

A cap on the state and local tax deduction, also known as SALT, was part of the 2017 federal tax reform package. The cap hurt high-tax states such as New York and had been a particular hot topic for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who joined other states in filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration.

The legislation, which passed the House of Representatives 218-206, would increase the deduction for 2020 and 2021. It also would increase the top marginal income tax rate from 37% to 39.6% beginning in 2020 and reduce the dollar amount at which the rate kicks in.

The top marginal tax rate applies to people making more than $500,000 a year.

It also would increase the tax deduction for expenses for elementary and secondary school teachers from $250 to $500 and allow a deduction of up to $500 for fees and tuition for first-responders.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik

Stefanik

“I have never voted to raise taxes on hardworking North Country families because taxes are already too high. The proposal on the House floor this week included a tax increase and only a partial short-term restoration of the state and local tax deduction,” Stefanik wrote on her Facebook page. “I want a complete and permanent restoration of the state and local tax deduction so that my constituents don’t face double taxation.”

Cuomo praised the house vote.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo 

“The Trump administration’s SALT policy was a politically motivated economic assault on New York. As the number one donor state, New Yorkers are sick and tired of being used as ATMs, footing an additional $15 billion each year that will be redistributed to red states and big corporations,” he said in a news release.

Trade deal passes

The House of Representatives passed by a vote of 385-41 the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

Stefanik voted in favor of the agreement.

“As a co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus, delivering this significant result to North Country farmers, small businesses, manufacturers, and hardworking families has been one of my top priorities,” Stefanik said in a news release. “The USMCA will expand our markets for American-made goods, bolstering our entire North Country economy.”

Stec gains support

Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, has picked up 42 more endorsements from elected officials in Warren and Washington counties in his bid for state Senate.

Stec on Monday gained 16 endorsements for Warren County officials, including Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover.

“I’ve worked closely with Dan both while he served on the county Board of Supervisors and as an Assemblyman,” Conover said in a news release. “He is extremely knowledgeable of the issues important to North Country residents, and he has a proven ability to work with others to achieve results that matter.”

Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury

Stec

Last week, Stec also picked up 26 endorsements from Washington County leaders.

Lyme disease funding

New York senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced Friday they have obtained a $2 million increase in the Centers for Disease Control Prevention budget to fight Lyme disease.

The Kay Hagan Tick Act contains $14 million in research funding — the first increase in five years, according to a news release. The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a national strategy for vector-borne diseases. In addition, it will allow the CDC to make grants to state and local health departments to identify ways to fight the disease.

Robocall update

Legislation to give federal agencies new tools to fight robocalls passed the Senate.

The bill would give federal agencies the authority to trace, prosecute and enforce fines of up to $10,000 per call against robocall scammers and establish requirements related to call authentication technology that could filter out robocalls and allow consumers to have access to robocall blocking technology, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

Now the bill heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for signature.

Covering mental health treatment

The state has put in place new requirements to provide expanded health insurance coverage for New Yorkers who seek treatment for mental health conditions.

The new rules include limits on co-pays or coinsurance for treatment for mental health issues and addiction and expansion of protections related to review of inpatient and outpatient treatment for addiction. Also, they prohibit preauthorization requirements for certain inpatient mental health treatment.

Funding the government

A bill to fund the government cleared the House of Representatives last week by a large margin.

The legislation funds a variety of departments including Defense, Commerce, Justice, Science, Health and Human Services, education, Agriculture, Transportation, Energy and others.

Reach Michael Goot at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.

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