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April 30, 2012 - 7:50pm

Bellavia puts emphasis on 'I'm no country club Republican' with release of tax returns

posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, David Bellavia, NY-27.

Republican congressional candidate and Batavia resident David Bellavia made his tax returns available today for review by journalists and he's calling on his primary opponent, Chris Collins, to do the same.

"This is part of our narrative of being completely transparent," Bellavia said. "If you're going to ask for somebody for a vote, you've got to earn their trust."

On Friday, the Buffalo News ran a story about Bellavia falling behind falling behind on some tax payments and city fees (with all payments being current now), but Bellavia said the decision to release his tax returns is coincidental.

"We always planned on releasing the returns, but (that story) may have pushed it up a week," Bellavia said.

Collins is a businessman who is reportedly wealthy. His press agent, Michael Kracker, has not yet responded to a phone message, nor has the Collins campaign responded to a message on Twitter asking if he will release his returns.

Bellavia betrayed a little frustration with the focus on his finances while Collins, he thinks, has ducked any substantial discussion of issues important to the district.

"When I decided to run for the seat, some Republicans pulled me aside as said I needed to be careful as a Republican not to make the campaign about class warfare. They said Collins is not a bad guy just because he has a lot of money and I agree with that, but now the class warfare is pointed at me. Just as he shouldn't be disqualified for this race because he's wealthy, I shouldn't be because I'm not."

And Bellavia isn't.

While he and his wife, Rochester TV reporter Deanna King, own a house in Ward 1 assessed at $209,000, the family income has only once exceeded $100,000 (in 2007), and in 2009 the Bellavias' gross adjusted income dropped to $29,719. In each of the other three years of tax returns provided by the Bellavia campaign the family income never exceeded $70,000.

In 2007, the Bellavias owed more than $10,000 in taxes at the end of the year, but in each of the other four years the family received refunds.

Bellavia's primary income, according to the returns, comes as an author, and that income has fluctuated widely over the years -- in excess of $100,000 in 2007 (when the family's gross income was nearly $114,000) and as low as $2,400 in 2010).

In 2007, a book Bellavia co-wrote, "House to House: An Epic Memoir of War"  was released. Bellavia has said he also co-wrote and sold the screenplay for the movie "Tie That Binds."

In 2009, Bellavia took time off from writing and speaking to help start and run a nonprofit group for returning veterans called the Warrior Legacy Foundation.

On Friday, Bellevia told the Buffalo News he is "no country club Republican," and he repeated the phrase today.

"It was a fair story," Bellavia said. "It's a story. I'm running for congress and there has got to be transparency, but at the end of the day, it clears the narrative that I'm not a country club Republican.

"You can't elect a person to congress whom it doesn't bother to put $4.05 in their tank," Bellavia added. "It hurts me every day."

Bellavia has repeatedly asked the well-financed Collins to meet in a debate and Bellavia said the lack of substance will hurt either Republican candidate, which ever one wins the primary, when it comes time to face Kathy Hochul in the general election.

"Hochul is a very gifted, talented and competent politician," Bellavia said. "She knows the issues. I disagree with her on the issues, but we can't just wait until after the primary to find out where a candidate stands on the issues, but that's exactly what he (Collins) told the Buffalo News."

Mark Brudz
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Nice article Howard, no bias either way and pretty much spelled out Bellavia's position.

Phil Ricci
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Good for you, David.

Brandon Burger
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I figured that the Buffalo News story about the late tax bills was a follow up (of sorts) to an earlier story they ran about Bellavia's campaign not responding to FEC inquiries regarding questionable expenses.

http://www.buffalonews.com/city/politics/article823308.ece

I haven't read anything more about that. Hopefully Bellavia has responded to the FEC as thoroughly as he has to questions about this late tax payment.

Jenna LaBarbera
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So, is Bellavia running for the good of the people or does he need a job so he can afford his expensive house?

Mark Brudz
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So Jenna you think Chris Collins and Kathy Hockul are in to be good citizens?

Statements like that are precisely the reason why more people avoid politics in general.

Did Barrack Obama run for the Senate because he needed to pay for his expensive Chicago Home? After all he didn't have a real job before that and he didn't even publish his books until he was a Senator.

THE ISSUES, AND ONL:Y THE ISSUES MATTER

Thomas Mooney
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I see a problem with it . Not paying taxes on time and not having a job , is a big problem . I would like to see his work record . Just because you are war hero of ant sort doesn't do anything for politics or prove you can do the job that needs to be done.Most people go get jobs if they can't afford the taxes . Money doesn't help the cause either but if you have money , chances are you can network with others more easily to get the job done . No work ethic along with no money , equates to another push over [olitician looking for a pay check .

Ed Gentner
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David Bellavia's income and his dealing with a day-to-day real world and the economic reflects what the overwhelming majority of the voters in the new District have to handle. Millionaire, Chris Collins has no financial worries and does not represent what most families deal with, whether they are Republican, Democrat, or Independents.

Bellavia knows what the majority of the citizens face every day, his financial statement and tax returns reflect it. He has proven himself a true leader and one who has a rich history of putting his country first.

As a life-long Democrat the decision of who to vote for in November will be a difficult one if David is on the ballot. With Chris Collins on the ballot the choice will be easy and Hochul gets my vote. Hochul has been an effective Representative and certainly a superior choice when compared to Chris Collins.

Howard B. Owens
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So, Thomas, self-employed people like, say, me, "don't have a job" and have "no work ethic"?

Great.

Ed Gentner
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Mr. Mooney, for you to infer that David Bellavia is "No work ethic along with no money, equates to another push over politician looking for a pay check" is insulting not just to Bellavia, but to anyone who chooses to run for elected office", that unless you have money and friends with money don't bother is the embodiment of class warfare.

Mark Brudz
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Thomas, I really thought very hard before I posted this.

1) Mr Bellavia is self employed, not unemployed
2) Work Ethic? Seriously, before the war he was promoted to (Staff Sargeant E-6) in less thanb 6 years. That my friend is the epitomy of work ethic in that Armed forces of today only promotes those that produce into staff NCO ranks and an early promotion such as his was is indicative of more than hard work.
3) Helping to found and chairing a non profit is an enormous amount of work. (Kind of indicates he is willing to sacrifice to support what he believes in)

Totally null arguement

Thomas Mooney
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If you are behind on taxes and you are self-employed , there is that option of getting a regular job with a pay check . Writing a book every couple years isn't what I think of when someone says they are self-employed . Has Bellavia ever worked at a 9 to 5 job . Most of the people he will represent do and we need someone who thinks like and lives like the majoity of use to make the best decisions for us . Touting that he is a every day guy and not a country club canadate makes people think he gets up everyday like most of us and goes to work for a pay check .

He is local , that is about all I can give him credit for as a politician . What he did in the armed forces is awesome but he rode that banner long enough . Lets see what he does for the public , not just the vets .

Mark Brudz
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Stephen King writes a book every couple of years, I think that he can be considered self employed. I also know people who work 9-5 that were late paying thier taxes for various reasons.

Perhaps Mr. Mooney, you should base your opinion listening to him speak or reading his stated positions, if his taxes were still not paid, that would be an issue, paying them late (with interest & penalties mind) yoiu is not.

Shannon Laurer
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I'm confused, are we supposed to be mad at the big greedy coporations or at those that are self employed and don't work a 9-5 job per say.............. Oh and just an FYI, I work for a large coporation but don't work 9-5 but I do pay my taxes, where do I fit in to the agenda.......... Oh and on another note, apparently a stay at home Mom doesn't work a day in their life, so where do they fit in......... again can you see my confusion..........

Mark Brudz
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A stay at home mom is akin to a farmer.

- They nurture and grow things
- They provide transportation services for the things they grow
- They excell at crisis management on a farm and in the home, a crisis can arise at anytime, the farmer and the mom have to always be prepared
- They are both jacks of all trades, fixing things, cleaning things and doing preventative maintainance

Bottom line, we wouldn't be here without either one of them

Thomas Mooney
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Good points , but still I don't think he has any credibility of being a leader in politics . I have listened to him , he says some good things but I do think he is in it for a job or a steady pay check ( his speech reeks of future career politician), this is not what is needed . I actualy met him and was less impressed in person than what I read about his views. I don't think he could actualy get much done with out the net working capability of a succesful business man . Once again , this my opinion based on what I have read and herd from him . I would vote for him in a minute for a more local election to the city council.Then we could see if he could do some good localy and then send him off to the big show .Brooks Hawley would be my choice for the next local to enter into congress in the future . He is taking baby steps and learning the political process on the inside and would have a better shot of actualy making a difference .

Shannon Laurer
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Apparently I am also confused on why there is another r in corporation, can't believe I missed it, twice, lol! Mark, love the comparison, right on target!

Billie Owens
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Big party politics is rife with lawyers, rich people and highly educated people. Nothing wrong with any of those things but they certainly are the norm for that realm and therefore not representative of the general populace. It's too bad some people who might make gifted politicians shy away from the ruthless hardball of elective office. But I can certainly see why they do.

Mark Brudz
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Since the early 1900's, congress has morphed from a legislative body dealing with national issues into a bacon producing group looking for ways to guarantee re-election.

It is amazing how many times I see people post on here in one breath that they want to cut the cost of government and in the second breathe say how they want to elect the person that will bring the bacon home. Kind of a non sequitor.

I am really at the point where I don't want to see lawyers and big business types in the house of representatives, which is supposed to be the people's house.

The current house has passed a budget, and more than 30 jobs/spending reduction bills,NOT ONE has been brought to the floor of the Senate, thus dead as a bill needs to go through bioth houses the mediated into final bill which either becomes law or not.

The reason is because tough votes are coming and the those who control the senate, have more seats at stake this cycle than the GOP.

Why, has the SENATE not passed a budget in 3 years as of Sunday? (Big hint here, it is not because of tyhe GOP this time)

Notice the president is careful say it is because of congress, implying the republicans, but it is in fact the Senate, controlled by Democrats that are holding up the show, (And the budget only requires 51 votes not 60 like other matters)

Where is this rant heading? I don't think we need politically astute people anymore worried about how the gamne is played, we need people that want to cap spending, and if that means a single term, so be it.

It is time people in the house and senate stop telling us that they will bring us stuff from washington and start telling us they are working to get Washington less involved in our lives.

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