Transmission Line 5.JPG

FILE - In this May 2017 photo, New York State Electric and Gas and National Grid build a new transmission line. 

Kevin Rivoli, The Citizen

U.S. Rep. John Katko wants to ensure utility companies in New York are passing on the benefits of the federal tax plan to customers. 

Katko, R-Camillus, sent a letter this week to the New York State Public Service Commission urging the agency to review how the new tax law will impact New York energy companies and whether the tax savings will help lower rates. 

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the commission will develop a plan for delivering the tax savings to ratepayers. Commissioners will issue their recommendation later this year. 

Utility companies are expected to pay considerably less in taxes after President Donald Trump signed the tax legislation in December. The measure slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. 

In his letter, Katko noted that some utility companies in other states have already announced plans to lower energy rates for consumers. Commonwealth Edison Company, Pepco and Rocky Mountain Power are among the companies that have requested lower rates from state utility commissions. 

"I am hopeful that the New York State Public Service Commission will work to ensure hardworking New Yorkers are able to enjoy the benefits of this legislation, and realize a net reduction in their monthly energy bill in the coming months," Katko wrote. 

The tax plan has been touted by Republicans as a major legislative achievement. Katko was one of four New York Republicans who voted for the bill. He explained in past interviews that he supported the legislation because it would benefit a "vast majority" of his constituents in central New York. 

He also believed the corporate tax cut and other business-related changes would help employers in his district. 

There was strong opposition to the tax plan from some New Yorkers, most notably Cuomo. He has criticized the legislation as a giveaway to the rich and described Katko's support for the tax plan as "treasonous." 

One of the main provisions that bothered Cuomo was the revamped state and local tax deduction, a key deduction utilized by residents of high-tax states. Early drafts of the GOP tax proposal called for the elimination of the deduction. But Katko and other New York Republicans advocated for a compromise: a $10,000 cap on the deduction. 

The compromise, which will allow filers to deduct up to $10,000 of state and local income, property and sales taxes, was included in the final bill. 

Cuomo took another swipe at the tax law when he announced the Public Service Commission's plan earlier in the week. He said the federal government cut corporate taxes "at the expense of middle- and working-class men and women." 

Katko didn't mention the governor by name in his letter, but did refer to "heated rhetoric from both sides" during the tax debate. He expressed his desire to move forward and ensure energy customers get lower rates as a result of the corporate tax cut.

"I hope that we can find common ground and work to pass on the clear benefits of this law to New Yorkers," he wrote. 

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