Bellavia knocks Collins for cribbing ideas from former congressional reps
The campaign of GOP congressional candidate David Bellavia today criticized former Erie County executive Chris Collins for borrowing the ideas of former Western New York Republican Congressmen in his Small Business Bill of Rights but failing to give credit where it was due.
In 2010, Congressman Chris Lee (NY-26) co-sponsored H.R. 5109, titled the Small Business Bill of Rights. (bit.ly/KIWkKL) The bill was meant to stimulate growth and innovation in small businesses, much like Mr. Collins' initiative of the same name announced today. Rep. Lee's Small Business Bill of Rights included provisions for tax relief, limiting government regulations, protecting the secret ballot, lowering health care costs, and protecting intellectual property.
Also in 2010, Rep. Lee unveiled "Manufacturing for Tomorrow," a five-point plan to strengthen manufacturing in Western New York. The initiative called for tax relief and fairness for U.S. workers and manufacturers, tort reform to address job-killing lawsuit abuse, and customs reform to stop intellectual property violations. (scr.bi/Lg8olA) Collins' Small Business Bill of Rights, meant to bolster small businesses in the 27th Congressional District, mirrors the key points of Rep. Lee's plan, but without giving him credit. Mr. Collins advocates tax relief for small businesses ("right to lower taxes"), tort reform ("right to be free of frivolous lawsuits"), and intellectual property protection. (bit.ly/LGBjyE)
During his time in office, Rep. Lee was one of two representatives from New York State who opposed the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which denied workers the right to a secret ballot. (bit.ly/KZMoLi) Another tenet in Mr. Collins' plan is the "right to secret ballots for union elections."
"A large portion of Mr. Collins' Small Business Bill of Rights comes directly from the work of Rep. Lee," Bellavia campaign manager and former Lee staffer Paul Cole said. Cole also charged Collins with borrowing the ideas of former Congressman Tom Reynolds.
In the document, Collins also states that "China needs to play by the rules." Mr. Collins advises that China must float its currency in order to end currency manipulation and protect the U.S. from unfair trade practices that harm American-made products and small businesses. He failed to credit Rep. Reynolds (NY-26) for that idea. Reynolds co-sponsored the Chinese Currency Act, which aimed to end Chinese exchange-rate manipulation and insulate American manufacturers from being harmed by currency manipulation. (bit.ly/NfBIuv)
"By failing to give credit to former congressmen Lee and Reynolds for their ideas, Mr. Collins is violating his own call for protecting intellectual property that he outlined today in this very plan," said Cole, who also worked for Rep. Reynolds. "For a candidate who touts his business experience as his sole qualification for Congress, he sure has a problem coming up with his own policy prescriptions."
"Some points in Mr. Collins' initiative are principles all Republicans espouse -- eliminating the death tax and government regulations, simplifying the tax code, balancing the budget, and repealing Obamacare," Cole said. "But once you compare the ideas of congressmen Lee and Reynolds with Mr. Collins' small business platform, it's quite clear that the other five solutions Mr. Collins offers are lifted from former the congressmen."
"At the very least, Mr. Collins should have the dignity to give credit where it is due," Cole said. "Anyone familiar with the policies of congressmen Lee and Reynolds would recognize these proposals in a hot second."
Cole noted that Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy, who is leading the Collins campaign, also worked for Lee and Reynolds.
NOTE: Chris Collins appeared in Batavia today to announced a "Small Business Bill of Rights," which The Batavian would have covered had the Collins campaign bothered to contact The Batavian in advance of the event.