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chris collins

March 14, 2013 - 10:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) issued the following statement after voting for legislation preserving work requirements for Welfare recipients (H.R. 890, the Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act of 2013):

“Requiring work for people receiving payments from certain Welfare programs has proven to be an extremely successful approach since it became law as part of the historic and bipartisan reform of Welfare back in 1996. That is why many were stunned last summer when the Obama Administration announced it would allow states to waive work requirements for people receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) payments.

The Legislation passed in the House prevents the Obama administration from issuing work requirement waivers. These work requirements have a proven history of helping to lift people out of poverty.  It is now my hope that the Senate will address this important issue and that Washington leaders will work together to find more ways to break the cycle of government dependency.”

According to the House Ways and Means Committee report issued last year, between 1996 and 2000, employment of single mothers increased by 15 percent; earnings for female-headed households remained higher in 2009 than in 1996 despite shifting economic conditions; TANF caseloads decreased by 57 percent through December 2011; and child poverty has decreased dramatically and continues below the levels in the 1990s.

March 8, 2013 - 12:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, agriculture, chris collins.

Rep. Chris Collins met with a group of more than 30 farmers from throughout the NY-27 today at Farm Credit East.

The farmers comprise an advisory panel for Collins, who sits on the House Agriculture Committee.

The group was set up to advise Collins on issues pertinent to the industry, such as immigration, the new five-year Farm Bill, and regulations affecting dairy, vegetable, fruit and grain farmers.

This afternoon, Collins will also attend the Genesee County Economic Development Center's annual meeting at Genesee Community College.

March 5, 2013 - 1:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, art, chris collins.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) is encouraging local high school students to participate in this year's Congressional Art Competition. The winning artist from New York's 27th Congressional District will travel to Washington, D.C., and have their artwork displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

"Each day, members of Congress and hundreds of visitors to the Capitol walk by the award winning artwork submitted by high school students from around the country," Collins said. "I look forward to great participation from NY-27 schools this year and the opportunity to welcome our wining artist to Washington this summer."

Now in its 31st year, the Congressional Art Competition is open to all high school students in New York's 27th Congressional District. Local submissions are due by April 19 and will be judged by the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

Collins' office has notified local high schools regarding contest rules and submission guidelines. Interested students should see their art teacher for details or contact Emily Knight from Congressman Collins' office at (585) 519-4002.

February 25, 2013 - 6:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

The President insisted that these devastating, across-the-board spending cuts become law as part of the debt negotiations back in 2011. Now four days away from these cuts taking effect, he is telling the American people the only way to avoid the pain is to raise taxes – again.

I am very disappointed the President is not working with us to find a solution. The House first passed legislation 290 days ago to replace the President’s sequester with smarter, more responsible spending cuts. The Senate and the President never addressed those bills.

The President is now threatening an apocalypse if he doesn’t get a second tax hike in eight weeks. There are smarter, more bipartisan ways to replace President Obama’s sequester than higher taxes on hardworking Americans.

January 24, 2013 - 1:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

As the House Agriculture Committee held its first meeting of the 113th Congress, the committee’s chairman appointed Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) to the following subcommittees: General Farm Commodities and Risk Management

Jurisdiction: Program and markets related to cotton, cottonseed, wheat, feed grains, soybeans, oil seeds, rice, dry beans, peas, lentils, the Commodity Credit Corporation, risk management, including crop insurance, commodity exchanges, and specialty crops.

Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture

Jurisdiction: Fruits and vegetables, honey and bees, marketing and promotion orders, plan pesticides, quarantine, adulteration of seeds and insect pests, and organic agriculture, research, education and extension, biotechnology, and foreign agriculture assistance, and trade promotion programs, generally.

“I am excited to hit the ground running and get to work on the issues that matter to our farmers,” Collins said. “Agriculture is a primary economic driver in NY-27 and the issues debated and decided on by the House Agriculture Committee and its various subcommittees directly impact not only our local farmers and their families, but our entire region. Our primary goal must be to pass a comprehensive five-year Farm Bill to give our farmers the support and long-term stability they deserve.”

Earlier this month, Collins met with about 40 farmers in Batavia to discuss agriculture issues and hear what they most want to see as part of a new Farm Bill. In the near future, Collins will establish a formal and active Agriculture Advisory Committee.

January 7, 2013 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

On his first full week on the job, Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) met with approximately 40 local farmers this afternoon to talk about what they want to see as part of a new farm bill. Congress is set to debate a new five-year farm bill over the coming months. As a member of the Agriculture Committee, Collins has made it a top priority to work with his colleagues to pass a new farm bill as soon as possible. The current legislation expired and Congress passed a short-term extension at the end of 2012.

“America’s farmers need their federal government to act and pass a comprehensive, long-term farm bill,” Collins said. “Congress must come together to give our agricultural community the support and long-term stability it needs.”

Held in Batavia, today’s meeting participants included dairy and crop farmers from the various counties that make-up New York’s 27th Congressional District. Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau, also participated. Today’s informal meeting gave Collins an opportunity to hear directly from local farmers in advance of his first Agriculture Committee meeting in Washington. In the near future, Collins’ office will establish a formal Agriculture Advisory Committee.

A new farm bill would establish farm commodity, conservation, trade and nutritional programs for the next five-year period.

“Hardworking farmers cannot be left in limbo while Washington partisans remain deadlocked on the major issues of the day,” Collins said. “A new farm bill is too important to agricultural interests not only in our own community, but all across this country. We all rely on the hard work of America’s farmers and now the federal government needs to do its job.”

January 5, 2013 - 5:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, genesee county, Gary Maha, NY-27, chris collins.

Elected officials from national, state and county government were at the Old Courthouse today for both a ceremonial and official swearing in for office.

For Rep. Chris Collins, State Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Steve Hawley, taking the oath in Batavia today was ceremonial. But for Sheriff Gary Maha, Treasurer Scott German, coroners Donald Coleman and Karen Lang, along with Undersheriff William Sheron and Deputy Treasurer Matt Landers, the oath was official.

Collins spoke briefly about his commitment to representing the people of the 27th Congressional District, hearing the concerns of voters, especially in Genesee County, and working in Congress to help control spending and bring down the deficit.

"My job in representing this district is that we stand up for our children and grandchildren to get spending under control, to get our deficits down to zero in some reasonable time, like 10 years, and grow the economy," Collins said.

He promised that the people of Genesee County will see him frequently in the county.

Prior to the ceremony, Collins took his wife, Mary, daughter, Caitlin, son, Cameron, and staff members to a no-media lunch at the Pok-A-Dot. Collins has referred to the Pok-A-Dot as a good-luck charm, dining there on election day for the primary and general elections, but when he showed up today, he reportedly told people there that he wanted a chance to enjoy lunch with his family without cameras around.

Sheriff Gary Maha takes the oath, administered by Assemblyman Steve Hawley, as wife Susan Maha holds the Bible.

Above, Coroner Donald Coleman, who has served in the position for 21 years, takes the oath of office.

To purchase prints of the photos in the slide show, click the link in the upper left of the slide show.

January 4, 2013 - 1:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

“Today, the House of Representatives took action on the first of two aid packages to help people devastated by Superstorm Sandy in October. I am pleased that one of my first acts as a member of Congress was to cosponsor and vote in favor of this bill, which will provide nearly $10 billion to FEMA so it can cover flood insurance claims.

It is important that Congress come together to do its part and provide the necessary aid to help the millions of people impacted by this natural disaster. Too many families have had their entire lives turned upside down. It is only right that the federal government help those impacted on the East Coast recover and begin to rebuild not only their homes, but their lives.”

January 3, 2013 - 3:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins.

Statement from Rep. Chris Collins:

“Today, as I took the official oath of office, I thought of the faith and trust the hardworking residents of New York's 27th Congressional District have placed in me. I am humbled by the opportunity to be their representative and their voice in the United States House of Representatives.

As a new member of Congress, I look forward to serving on both the Agriculture and Small Business committees. These committee assignments are a natural fit for both my experience as a small business owner and the incredibly important role agriculture plays in NY-27. In addition to fighting every day for what is best for the families of NY-27, I pledge to be a strong advocate and champion for farmers and small business owners, and their employees, not only in our own community, but all across this country.

I begin my time in Congress at a very critical moment in our country. It is my hope that the new Congress can come together to seriously address the issues facing our nation. I look forward to being a part of the discussion, and most importantly, a part of the solutions that are necessary to curb our nation's unsustainable spending and reduce our crushing national debt. Members of Congress must start making decisions based not on political expediency, but on commonsense fiscal policy focused on ensuring prosperity of our children, grandchildren and future generations.”

Collins will take a ceremonial oath of office at 1 p.m., Saturday, at the Genesee County Courthouse.

December 13, 2012 - 4:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, chris collins.

Press release:

Congressman-elect Chris Collins (NY-27) will serve on both the Agriculture and Small Business committees in the 113th Congress beginning in January. Collins was appointed to the posts by House leadership. The committee assignments are a natural fit for both Collins’ background as a small business owner and the incredibly important role agriculture plays in New York’s 27th Congressional District.

“These two committee assignments make perfect sense as I look to bring my real-world experience to Washington and represent the needs and concerns of New York’s 27th Congressional District,” Collins said. “Agriculture plays an extremely critical role in this district in terms of both the economy and the way of life for many families.

"Throughout the campaign, I visited with dozens of crop and dairy farmers who shared with me their daily struggles of trying to run efficient, profitable farms despite the regulations and burdensome bureaucracy coming out of Washington. One of my very top goals as a member of Congress will be to help farmers have a legal and reliable labor force by pushing for much needed improvements to our nation’s guest worker program.”

Collins is also eager to put his business and job creation background to use as a member of the House Small Business committee.

“Being a member of Congress may be new to me, but I’ve spent my entire adult life in the small business world,” Collins said. “After a 35-year career in the private sector, I am all too familiar with the hurdles the federal government places in the way of small business owners. Small business is the backbone of our economy and as this country continues to climb out of the devastating recession, the federal government needs to focus on making it easier for small businesses to grow and thrive, instead of harder.”

“In addition to fighting every day for what is best for the hardworking families of NY-27, I look forward to being an advocate and a voice for small business owners and farmers not only in our own community, but all across this country,” Collins said.

Collins has traveled to Washington since being elected last month to participate in new member orientation and other important forums for incoming members of Congress. Collins will take the official oath of office on Jan. 3.

November 7, 2012 - 9:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul, NY-27, chris collins.

Press release from Kathy Hochul:

“Early this morning I called Chris Collins and congratulated him on being elected to Congress. I encouraged him to work across the aisle and offered to assist him in any way I can. I also volunteered to help him make a smooth transition in January to ensure our constituents are well served. Congress can do better, and the people of this country deserve better than what Washington has given them.”

November 6, 2012 - 1:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Pok-A-Dot, NY-27, chris collins.

Calling it an Election Day tradition, Chris Collins drove to Batavia today for lunch at the Pok-A-Dot. Collins had lunch at the Dot the day of the GOP primary when he beat David Bellavia.

The Pok-A-Dot, he said, is kind of like a lucky charm.

Collins had no other campaign stops to make today with the race now in the hands of the voters of the NY-27. 

While Collins said he feels good about his chances against incumbent Kathy Hochul, he is short of predicting victory, knowing it's likely to be a close vote.

November 3, 2012 - 9:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, kathy hochul, NY-27, chris collins.

A little more than a week ago, we sent seven questions to each of the candidates for NY-27 congressional seat.

The rules were:

Here are seven questions we are asking each of the candidates to answer. Answers are due by Noon, Nov. 2. We’re asking each candidate to answer the questions directly without referring to your opponent or members of the opposing party. This is about each candidates positions on these issues, not what they think about the opposing party or the opposing candidate. Please craft answers accordingly. Answers will be published verbatim in a Q&A format.

Below are the questions and the answers from Chris Collins. Though we were told to expect answers from Kathy Hochul's campaign, we have not received the answers.

What would be your top priority over the next two years to help lower the costs of medical care – if it’s even possible – in the United States?

We must repeal ObamaCare which is, in effect, a government takeover of medical care in the United States and will greatly increase the cost of medical care. ObamaCare dictates to employers what benefits to provide even if those benefits are not needed or wanted by employees. ObamaCare greatly expands Medicaid which is already out of control in New York State and in many cases consumes 100% of county property taxes. We can’t afford more. We need tort reform with a cap on medical malpractice awards. Too much medicine is defensive medicine (some say as much as 30%). Tort reform is our greatest opportunity to reduce the cost of medicine.

What is your ideal future for Medicare?

We must repeal ObamaCare which cuts $716 billion from Medicare including cuts to current seniors, including my 85-year-old Mom. ObamaCare is focused on ending Medicare Advantage by cutting payments to providers which will result in increased premiums and cuts to benefits. Well over 50% of seniors in the 27th Congressional District depend on Medicare Advantage, including my 85-year-old Mom. We should not make cuts to Medicare for seniors age 55 or over, which is why we must repeal ObamaCare. We must work together to make sure Medicare is solvent for future generations and those age 55 and under.

Should the federal tax system be changed – flat tax or consumption tax instead of income tax, or remain as it is? If an income tax, should deductions such as the home mortgage interest deduction be eliminated?

We should make the current tax code flatter and fairer. The maximum marginal tax rate should be 25% - 28% to compete with the rest of the world. We can cap itemized deductions for higher wage earners so the top 1% still pay 37% of the nation’s tax. We should not eliminate mortgage interest deductions since we want to encourage home ownership.

Would you support military action against Iran to prevent that country from obtaining either a nuclear weapon or the capability to build one?

Military action should always be a last resort but the United States cannot allow Iran to obtain nuclear capabilities. All options should be on the table, but military action must be a last resort.

Genesee County needs to spend as much as $15 million on road and bridge repair in the next five years. What will you do, if anything, to help the county pay for infrastructure repair?

The federal government plays a role in infrastructure repair and should continue to do so. As Erie County Executive, I prioritized infrastructure repairs as an important piece of making the county a place where businesses wanted to locate.

What is your position on WNY STAMP? Should federal grants and subsidies be directed to that project to help bring businesses into the industrial park?

WNY STAMP is an opportunity to bring good jobs to our region. The decision should ultimately rest with the local community.

Sen. Charles Schumer supports building a section of high-speed rail through a portion of Genesee County in the area of Bergen. What is your position on this project?  

I do not support high speed rail. The United States has $16 trillion in debt and currently runs a $1 trillion yearly deficit. We are broke and the cupboards are bare.

UPDATE: We received Hochul's answers this afternoon as I was on my way to Rochester to cover the Notre Dame game, or I would have posted them several hours ago.

What would be your top priority over the next two years to help lower
the costs of medical care – if it’s even possible – in the United
States?

I am confident our country can slow, and even reverse the skyrocketing growth in health care costs.  First of all, Medicare should be allowed to negotiate with drug companies and secure lower cost prescription drugs for our seniors.  We must also look to new, innovative methods of care delivery, specifically care coordination. If different parties in the health care sector – hospitals, primary care physicians, specialists, insurance companies, etc. – all work together to coordinate patient care and ensure that everyone is on the same page, the quality of care will improve, and the cost of care will go down.  There is also great potential for reducing health care costs through the use of tele-medicine, especially in rural communities.  To make this a reality, I introduced Veterans Tele-Health legislation to ensure we save our veterans valuable time and money when while providing them with the health care they need.

What is your ideal future for Medicare?



We must ensure our seniors can continue to rely on the Medicare program they have earned and paid into their whole lives.  To keep the program viable, we must eliminate wasteful spending and lower the cost of healthcare.  That is why I introduced the Stop Medicare Fraud Act, which would dramatically increase penalties for defrauding Medicare and redirect those funds to the prosecution of fraud.   I do not support the Paul Ryan budget proposal, which would end Medicare as we know it and essentially transform Medicare into a voucher program. 

Should the federal tax system be changed – flat tax or consumption tax
instead of income tax, or remain as it is? If an income tax, should
deductions such as the home mortgage interest deduction be eliminated?



I do not support imposing a national sales tax on all Americans, and I believe that billionaires should be expected to contribute more to reducing the deficit than middle class families.  Overall, we do need a simpler tax code and must comb through the tax code line by line to make sure it is fair and encourages job creation here in America.  That is why I support ending tax breaks for Big Oil companies earning billions of dollars in profit, and why I cosponsored legislation to close tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.

Would you support military action against Iran to prevent that country
from obtaining either a nuclear weapon or the capability to build one?



Under no circumstances can we allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, and we must leave all options on the table.  In Congress, I have consistently stood with Israel and voted to strengthen crippling sanctions against Iran, sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.  I have also helped lead the fight to monitor Hezbollah's activities in the Western Hemisphere, and have pushed the European Union to formally designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Genesee County needs to spend as much as $15 million on road and
bridge repair in the next five years. What will you do, if anything,
to help the county pay for infrastructure repair?



The best way to shore up finances for Genesee County and local governments in Western New York is to create a strong economic environment where jobs are being created and employers are hiring. Right now, the Greek yogurt industry is booming. To ensure New York yogurt is always made with New York milk and to boost local economic development, we need to cut red tape for dairy farmers so they can increase their production to supply the projected 15% change in demand for milk from yogurt companies. On the federal level, I’ve been advocating for increased infrastructure funding and sponsored an amendment to protect dedicated funding for rural bridge repairs when some in Congress tried to eliminate this program.

What is your position on WNY STAMP? Should federal grants and
subsidies be directed to that project to help bring businesses into
the industrial park?



Of course, land use decisions should be made by local residents -- not the federal government.  When community support for a project is strong, like it is for developments at the Agri-Business park, I support the use of targeted grants and tax incentives to encourage businesses invest in Western New York.  Ultimately, it is the private sector that creates jobs--not the government.  As your Representative, I am working to foster a better business environment that is conducive to job creation and economic growth.  To close the skills gap that holds back growth in advanced manufacturing, I have held school-to-work roundtables to partner local employers with educators.  And in Congress, I introduced legislation to provide tax breaks to businesses that manufacture in America and partner with local schools to provide students with on-the job training opportunities.

Sen. Charles Schumer supports building a section of high-speed rail
through a portion of Genesee County in the area of Bergen. What is
your position on this project?

The residents of Bergen should decide if a project of this scale is right for their community. I do believe we need targeted investments in infrastructure, including transportation, to advance our economy. To take advantage of the new economy and ensure agricultural producers can reach new markets and customers, we need to more robustly invest in all forms of transportation infrastructure, including our roads and highways, airports and runways, harbors and waterways, as well as rail systems.

November 2, 2012 - 3:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins.

Congressional candidate Chris Collins made a couple of campaign stops in Genesee County today, including the Harvester Center.

Above, Collins, center, learns about the history of the world's first business incubator from Tom Mancuso while Assemblyman Steve Hawley studies a Harvester calendar from 1912.

Collins, Mancuso, Hawley and Greg Torrey, an aide to Hawley, learn about Applied Business Systems from Steven Samis.

Collins with Samis.

October 18, 2012 - 4:53pm

Every year in Genesee County, 350 people are diagnosed with cancer and 100 people die from cancer, which is why, according to a group of the American Cancer Society who were in Batavia today, cancer should be an important election issue.

Americans need research and treatment for the disease and the assurance of funding for both, according to Hillary Clarke, director of federal government relations, so this is an issue voters should take up with candidates for office.

At www.cancervotes.org is a voter's guide for the presidential election with responses from the two major party candidates, but Clarke said neither of the candidates for the NY-27 Congressional District responded to the Cancer Action Network's survey.

Contacted today, a spokesman for Kathy Hochul's campaign said Hochul did respond and her answers are posted on the Web site. We've not been able to find those answers and requested a direct link to the appropriate page.

The spokesman for Chris Collins, Micheal Kracker, sent the following statement in response to a simple question of what would Collins do to support the fight against cancer.

"As the brother of a cancer survivor, Chris Collins knows how important it is to support cancer research. Chris also recognizes how important it is to make sure no government bureaucracy stops doctors from giving patients like Chris' sister the treatment they need to stay healthy. We need to be sure that doctors, not government bureaucrats determine how best to care for patients. We must also promise to protect Medicare for our seniors so they continue to receive the access to affordable care they paid for their entire lives."

We'll update this post if any additional information comes in.

UPDATE: Statement from Angela Pause-Smith, communications director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc.: "Neither candidate responded to our questionnaire so there actually isn't a Voter Guide for this race. I'm sorry if someone told you that there was one."

UPDATE II: As soon as I posted the update above, Pause-Smith emailed the following: "So I learned literally a moment ago that late this afternoon Hochul returned our questionnaire. There is a process we need to follow to post it on our Web site and we've asked for that process to be expedited so you can see the responses, but I can't provide a time that they will be available."

UPDATE III: Pause-Smith clarifies: "It may not have been late this afternoon that she returned it, I just learned of it late this afternoon. We received it sometime today."

UPDATE IV: Hochul's answers are now available, click here.

Photo: Julie Kumiega, Hillary Clarke and Karen Hall.

September 7, 2012 - 4:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

Congressional candidate and small business owner Chris Collins today joined Assemblyman Steve Hawley to tour Chapin Manufacturing in Batavia to discuss the importance of manufacturing jobs and the issues facing small businesses.

“Manufacturing is a key component of the American economy. Companies like Chapin provide good paying jobs to hundreds of employees and strongly support their local communities,” Collins said. “We need Washington to create an environment for these businesses to succeed.

"The Obama-Hochul policies are not working. Today’s jobs report shows we lost 15,000 manufacturing jobs in August and unemployment remains above 8 percent for the 43rd straight month. This is unacceptable.”

“Washington just does not understand that you cannot tax and regulate a business to success. We need people in Congress who know what it is like to make payroll and face the challenges imposed by Washington every day. I’ve spent my career creating American jobs and will bring that experience with me to Congress,” Collins continued.

Chris Collins continues to tour businesses throughout the 27th Congressional District, hearing concerns from small business men and women.

Photo provided by the Chris Collins campaign.

August 14, 2012 - 1:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul, NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

Clarence, NY – “At a time when our nation is debating critical policy issues including whether to extend middle class tax relief or give more tax breaks to millionaires and companies that ship jobs overseas, voters deserve to know how their elected officials make their money and how much they pay in taxes. In a commitment to transparency, Congresswoman Hochul has made the last three years of her tax returns public,” said Campaign Manager Frank Thomas.

“Given Chris Collins' unwillingness to discuss his support for policies that gut Medicare to pay for additional tax cuts for the rich and lingering questions about the business he does with China so he can better line his pockets, we call on him to give voters the clarity they deserve and be candid with his tax returns,” continued Thomas.

Copies of her 2009, 2010, and 2011 returns are available here: http://www.kathyhochul.com/meetkathy/tax-returns/


Chris Collins supports tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  According to a Collins campaign press release, “Collins supports a full extension of the tax cuts.” [Collins Press Release, 7/9/2012]

Chris Collins refused to release his tax returns so he could hide sources of business income. According the Buffalo News,

For his part, though, Collins said he would not release his tax records because they would show how much he's earning from various business partnerships, meaning the release would also make public his partners' income.

More importantly, he said, his income would reveal how much money his companies are making -- and, therefore, provide important information to his competitors. [Buffalo News, 6/2/2012]

Collins told voters “I would never” release tax returns. At an event on May 21, 2012, Collins told an audience “so again, I'm not going to release personal tax returns, because it's got my partners' income. I would never do that.” [Chris Collins Video, 5/30/2012]

 

August 3, 2012 - 6:47am
posted by Mark Brudz in kathy hochul, chris collins, 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).

July 20, 2012 - 11:42am
posted by Mark Brudz in kathy hochul, chris collins, 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.

July 16, 2012 - 12:40pm
posted by Mark Brudz in Barack Obama, kathy hochul, NY-27, chris collins.

Publisher's Note: A few weeks ago, Mark Brudz discussed the idea of regularly fact checking the candidates for the NY-27 Congressional District, much like a site like factcheck.org does on a national level. We believe this is the first such post with more to come in this campaign. We hope to encourage both candidates to run more honest and truthful campaigns than is usually seen in this highly partisan era.

If Mr. Collins is going to cry foul for Mrs. Hochul cherry-picking his words and not keeping them in full context, he should also hold himself to the same standard.

A Collins For Congress email sent Saturday afternoon used a statement by President Obama to attack Hochul.

Obama: "If you got a business, you didn't build it. Somebody else made that happen."

The email then went on with the subtitle: "Kathy Hochul's Presidential Candidate Slams Small Businesses."

Yes, the president did in fact say that, however, it was taken out of context in a excerpt from a campaign rally speech in Roanoke, Va., on Friday July 13. The Collins team included in their email a quote from the Washington Times article written by Walter Cooler.

"There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there."

The president's entire statement however, was not exactly a slam toward small business. In full context, the president more specifically expressed his belief in infrastructure and that successful business people rely on that infrastructure to grow their business. Additionally, President Obama stated that successful business people have achieved but also relied upon teachers and mentors to reach their goals.

All in all, there was much fodder for Mr. Collins with the statement in full context because it becomes more of philosophical discussion where Chris Collins actually can make some issue-based arguments.

It is no different than the flap earlier this month between Collins and Kathy Hochul. (See The Batavian; NY-27 race shaping up as a war over words.)  Hochul jumped on a Collins statement that he made in answer to a question during an interview for The Batavian. Clearly Mrs. Hochul took Mr. Collins out of context in order to obtain the upper hand when there was plenty in that interview that she could have taken issue with in full context.

What we need from both Collins and Hochul at this point is more statement of what they intend to do in Congress and less of the carefully choreographed talking points that are typical in today's politicians.

This is President Obama's statement in full context:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires; we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.”

It would be very appropriate for Chris Collins to take the president to task on the entire statement in context, likewise it would also be appropriate for him to question Mrs. Hochul's position on this statement, should she actually have made one. In Chris Collins email, there were several bullet points where he did in fact state his strengths and there was a legitamate question posed as to Mrs. Hochul's private sector business knowledge and experience.

I say let them both go at it from that point and may the best candidate win. But spare us the talking points and the he said/she said game this time around. If you want my vote, spell out your agenda and let me decide.

After the jump, the complete press release from the campaign of Chris Collins (click on the headline to read more):

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