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Friday, August 3, 2012 at 6:47 am

FACT CHECK: Hochul camp disputes Collins tax policy

post by Mark Brudz in chris collins, kathy hochul, NY 27

A press release from Kathy Hochul's office, dated 1 Aug., had this headline:

"HOCHUL CAMPAIGN RESPONDS TO CHRIS COLLINS’ PUSH FOR MORE DEFICIT-RAISING TAX CUTS FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES"

Hochul's Campaign Manager Francis Thomas cites a report issued by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities [CBPP] stating:

"Economists say that cutting taxes for the richest Americans would raise the deficit by “nearly $1 trillion” and give the most benefits to people making more than $1 million per year."

Thomas goes on to cite a [CBPP] article dated 7/19/2012 that poses the proposition that maintaining the Bush Tax Cuts for those in the upper 2 percent would, in fact, add deficits of more than $1 trillion to the 2013 budget.

"According to the nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP),
just 2.5 percent of small business owners face top tax rates. In a July 2012 study, they wrote 'allowing the top two marginal tax rates to return to pre-2001 levels as scheduled next year would affect very few small businesses, a recent Treasury Department study found. The study shows that only 2.5 percent of small business owners face the top two rates.' ” [CBPP 7/19/2012]

Although the CBPP does, in fact, claim to be "nonpartisan" on its Web site, further reading clearly disputes this claim. On the page titled "Experts" on the CBPP Web site, my research shows that all but one of those listed on the page have held positions with the Democrat Party. Of the 46 names listed in various positions, not one has held a position in the GOP or any other conservative or moderate think tank of a similar nature. Below are four examples selected from the Federal Fiscal Policy Section.

Jared Bernstein (Senior Fellow) is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. From 2009 to 2011, Bernstein was the chief economist and economic adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden in the Obama Administration. Bernstein is considered to represent a progressive, pro-labor perspective.

Indivar Dutta-Gupta (Policy Advisor) was involved with Amnesty International USA, as a member of its Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Advisory Group and in other volunteer positions. After graduating from the University of Chicago in June 2005, Dutta-Gupta came to D.C. to work with a nonprofit Democratic consulting firm on political campaigns, food and hunger, international development, energy and national security issues. While in college, he interned at the Chicago office of U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL).

James R. Horney (Vice President for Federal Fiscal Policy) was a deputy Democratic staff director at the Senate Budget Committee from 2001 through 2004.

Chuck Marr is the director of federal tax policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He served as economic policy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

Further, the report cited by Thomas has come under fire from nonpartisan and conservative tax policy organizations like the TaxFoundation and the Heritage Foundation.

"While we applaud the CBPP's obvious success at bringing attention to the budget, it paints an incomplete picture to place only certain budget items in a graph of the deficit, as if that demonstrates causality. Why not throw entitlement spending in the deficit category, or defense spending, or certain initiatives from the Clinton years? Better yet, why not simply show the entire budget, and in a larger historical context?

"Indeed, the CBO report on which the CBPP analysis is based does just that. A closer look at the CBO report will help illustrate the relative importance of tax cuts and spending (including spending through the tax code) in creating the projected deficits." The Budget Debate, taxfoundation.org

Clearly the issue is not so black and white.

Complete Hochul press release after the jump (click on the headline to read more).

Friday, July 20, 2012 at 11:42 am

Fact Check: Hochul and Collins spar over health care in fact-challenged statements

post by Mark Brudz in chris collins, kathy hochul, NY 27

In an email released by Kathy Hochul's staff Wednesday, her Campaign Manager Francis Thomas took opponent Chris Collins to task over the National Republican Congressional Committee’s (RNCC) claims that Hochul's support of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a talking point in this year’s race.

It is absolutely clear that Mr. Collins’ tact so far has been to attempt to paint Hochul as a champion for all Obama policies. Almost every press release, tweet and statement generated by the Collins’ Camp contains a reference to a Hochul-Obama connection.

What Chris fails to mention is that Kathy has sided with the Republicans in three key votes that, if also passed in the Senate, would repeal elements of the ACA. Mrs. Hochul was one of only seven Democrats who joined Republicans in repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

She also voted along with the GOP to repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program.

Finally, Mrs. Hochul, along with 36 other Democrats voted for the Health Care Cost Reduction Act of 2012 to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax on medical devices.

Consider also, that Hochul did not even hold office when the ACA was enacted and on several occasions has stated that she would have had problems voting for the ACA if it were presented as passed.

Yet, Collins is not alone in attempting to keep this race in true talking point hyperbole form.

In his press release styled email, Hochul campaign manager Thomas pulled out the tried and true quote, and often used by Kathy referring to the Paul Ryan Medicare Plan:

“.....Mr. Collins and his allies should explain to voters why he supports plans to force seniors to pay $6,400 more for their Medicare and use that money to give tax breaks to millionaires."

This approach was used to defeat Jane Corwin and Jack Davis in 2011’s special election with great success, unfortunately, this line was also dubbed as “One of the Whoppers of the Year” by factcheck.org then and it is under even more scrutiny now.

First of all, if implemented, those 55 at the time and older would not at all be affected at all by the Ryan Medicare Plan; they would receive Medicare benefits as currently prescribed by law.

As for the $6,400 figure, yes it is accurate when you do the simple math however, it leaves out distinct caveats that offset that number.

Finally, the next iteration of the Ryan Plan is similar to the first, and the new version is due to be brought to the floor after the November election. Among its contributors is the very liberal, and lifelong champion of senior issues, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. This iteration by all definitions is bipartisan.

For each talking point by either candidate, a fact-based argument can be used as a counter. For each statement issued by the candidates or by their supporters and staff, there will no doubt be a combination of truth, spin and/or vetted talking point.

Issues on the other hand, are often complex. When you analyze the facts there is plenty of room for debate.

The complete statement from the Hochul campaign:

Chris Collins is clearly afraid to run against Kathy Hochul's Independent record of fighting for Western New York, and now he and his allies are launching a desperate attempt to make this race about Barack Obama. Kathy has repeatedly crossed party lines to repeal the most troubling portions of the health care bill, while protecting Those provisions that protect our seniors, our young people, and those with preexisting conditions.

Instead of misrepresenting Kathy's record, Mr. Collins and his allies should explain to voters why he supports plans to force seniors to pay
$6,400 more for their Medicare and use that money to give tax breaks to millionaires.

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