Republican Elise Stefanik, who represents New York’s 21st Congressional District, containing most of the state’s North Country region, loves to continually tout the claim that she’s “never voted for a tax increase.” But just like the infamous 1988 “read my lips” quote of former President George H.W. Bush, is it really true? The answer is no. Last year, Congresswoman Stefanik actually endorsed a massive tax increase on many middle-class Upstate New York homeowners by opposing the Restoring Tax Fairness for State and Localities Act (HR 5377, Vote 700, 12/19/19), that would eliminate the $10,000 cap on state and local deductions (SALT) that was created by the 2017 tax reform bill.
Even one of the largest newspapers in the 21st Congressional District called Stefanik to task for her vote last December. And what was Stefanik’s justification for opposing the bill? That it would raise taxes on what she described as “hardworking North Country families” that earn more than $500,000 per year, even despite the immediate relief that restoring SALT deductions would provide many middle-to-upper middle class homeowners throughout the district.
From The Post-Star, Glens Falls, New York, January 4, 2020:
“The bill the House passed — and Rep. Stefanik voted against — includes an increase in the top marginal income tax rate from 37 percent to 39.6 percent. The top marginal tax rate applies to people making more than $500,000 a year.”
“Or, not anyone we know.”
“Rep. Stefanik said she voted against it because she had never voted to raise taxes on “hardworking North Country families” who make more than $500,000 a year.”
“She didn’t say that last part, but it gives her vote a little more context of who she seems to really care about.”
And who does Congresswoman Stefanik “seem to really care about”? Is it perhaps that very, very small number of “hardworking North Country families” who own the multi-million dollar horse farms in rural Saratoga County or perhaps the handful of gentleman’s estate owners outside of Lake Placid and Saranac Lake? Why not make a vote that could actually help the real “hardworking North Country families” in places like Wilton, Glens Falls or Queensbury? This was one of those very few and very rare times where Stefanik actually had the chance to live up to her ongoing, purported claims of being an “independent, bipartisan voice” instead of being the totally self-motivated partisan political hack that many of us know she is.