Elise Stefanik’s campaign was quick with negative labels and false statements about Tedra Cobb’s voting record, hoping that something would “stick.” The Stefanik campaign referenced St. Lawrence County Legislature minutes as proof Cobb voted to raise taxes 21 times. Perhaps they didn’t read them, but you can, and please do.
These references contained exactly 7 votes on setting taxes or fees. From 2008-2012, the property tax rate increased twice (by 0.13 percent and 2.4 percent), remained the same once and decreased once by 1.58 percent. All budgets passed with bipartisan approvals ranging from 10-12 yea votes to 2-4 nays. Another vote was to extend the existing “bed tax” to include establishments with less than 6 units. This common tax, paid by visitors, helps counties obtain revenues without increasing their residents’ tax burden.
Cobb voted yea on a 14-1 vote to raise fees for filing documents with the county clerk. She also voted with the unanimous decision to increase the dumping fee for contaminated soils by $0.50/ton. This hardly qualifies Cobb as “hyper-partisan, tax-and-spend candidate.”
The claim of 21 tax increase votes is gross exaggeration, and as Stefanik rightly said, “the biggest challenge is relief from mandates coming from the state onto the county.”
Tax should not be a negative word. What should be important is that taxes are levied fairly and that government is fiscally responsible. Tedra Cobb has experience passing balanced budgets. On the other hand, Stefanik’s Republican party passed a reckless tax cut which gave huge breaks to the wealthy and large corporations while adding an estimated $1.4 trillion to the debt. Though Stefanik can say she did not vote for the tax plan, as Deputy Whip she rounded up the votes to pass it. Stefanik never said that concessions to the wealthy or the added debt were bad.
Peggy Wiltberger, Saranac Lake