Anne Messenger considers it one of U.S. Rep. John Katko's worst votes. Dana Balter called it a "con job."

The two Democrats who are seeking the party's nomination to challenge Katko, R-Camillus, in 2018 offered sharp criticism of the two-term congressman's support for the $1.5 trillion GOP tax plan. The House passed the final legislation Tuesday. 

Katko said he supported the bill because it will benefit a vast majority of his constituents and it will allow businesses to create more jobs. He touted his work to reach a compromise on the retention of the state and local tax deduction and the preservation of three provisions that would have been eliminated or altered in previous proposals. 

He released a statement highlighting the "significant wins" he secured in the bill. He also seemed to acknowledge critics of the tax plan and his vote for the measure. 

"Despite the heated rhetoric surrounding passage of this legislation, the fact is that the status quo is simply not working for central New York," Katko said. 

He added, "I have always fought in the best interest of my constituents. I soundly believe this bill will deliver tax relief for central New York families and allow local businesses to invest in our workforce. With the passage of this bill today, I'm excited to see our local economy grow and thrive." 

Balter, D-Syracuse, and Messenger, D-Manlius, don't share that view. 

Messenger criticized the "secretive" process in which the legislation was drafted. GOP leaders weren't shy about their desire to pass tax reform, especially now that a Republican, President Donald Trump, is in the White House. But the House and Senate proposals were released not long before committee hearings were held to review the bills and votes were held to advance the plans. 

There was a theme in the House and Senate plans that Messenger didn't like, and that was the apparent anti-education sentiment. She referred to initial proposals that would have eliminated the student loan interest deduction, ended the $250 deduction for teachers who buy their own classroom supplies and the plan to consider tuition waivers for graduate students as taxable income. 

The three proposals weren't included in the final bill, but Messenger questioned the motives of those who pushed for the changes. 

"I don't know what's going on there, but people who wrote those kinds of provisions are not paying attention to education's impact on the economy," she said. 

Like Messenger, Balter was bothered by many aspects of the bill. She noted that there are provisions in the bill that could allow U.S. companies to send more jobs overseas. 

Despite the potential tax benefits for companies that send jobs overseas, Republicans contend that the bill will do the opposite. 

"That, I think, is the worst kind of con job," Balter said. 

She is also concerned about the impact of the individual mandate repeal. The tax bill included the elimination of the Affordable Care Act's requirement that people buy health insurance or face a penalty. 

Repealing the individual mandate could have a major impact on the health insurance market. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that 13 million more people will be uninsured and with fewer people in the marketplace, it could drive up the cost of premiums. 

Balter said thousands of people in Katko's district could lose health insurance as a result of the individual mandate's repeal. 

Katko questioned the constitutionality of the individual mandate, but reiterated his support for boosting the individual health insurance markets. Balter said by repealing the individual mandate, it will undermine the health insurance system. 

"As a constituent, I'm incredibly disappointed he is voting for this," she said. 

Democrats are already mobilizing in the aftermath of Tuesday's vote. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Democrats' campaign arm, launched digital ads criticizing Katko's stance. House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, paid for a billboard that will be displayed for four weeks slamming Katko's decision to support the House tax plan. 

Balter and Messenger agree that the vote will hurt Katko as he seeks a third term in 2018. Democrats won several races in New Jersey and Virginia in November. The party also pulled off an upset win in the Alabama Senate race last week. 

The incumbent lawmakers who supported the tax bill, Balter said, will "pay the price" at the polls in 2018. 

"John Katko is right at the top of that list," she added. 

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