John Katko 3.JPG

John Katko

Kevin Rivoli, The Citizen

U.S. Rep. John Katko was one of 20 Republicans who opposed a budget resolution Thursday that congressional leaders are using to advance their tax reform plan. 

The House of Representatives narrowly passed the resolution by a 216-212 vote. Seven New York Republicans were among the 20 GOP members who voted against the plan. 

The purpose of the budget resolution is to begin negotiations on a tax reform plan. Republican leaders have released a framework of their tax plan which would reduce the number of income tax brackets from seven to three, lower the corporate tax rate and eliminate several deductions. 

Supporters believe the plan will spur economic growth. Critics say it would raise taxes on the middle class while giving tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. 

Katko, R-Camillus, has long advocated for tax reform. He hasn't taken a position on the existing framework, but he reiterated Thursday that the tax code must be "simpler and more fair."

In a statement, he addressed his main concern with the resolution — that it would advance a plan to eliminate the state and local tax deduction. Residents in New York, New Jersey and other high-tax states utilize the tax break. 

"As tax reform legislation is developed in the coming weeks, I am hopeful that steps will be taken to mitigate the impact that a modification or elimination of the state and local tax deduction could have," Katko said. 

He added that there have been "constructive conversations" with House Republican leaders and the White House about the state and local tax deduction.

There have been reports that a compromise is in the works to address concerns raised by Katko and other New York members. New York's House GOP delegation have been pressured by some interest groups, such as the New York State Association of Counties, to oppose the elimination of the deduction. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said ending the state and local tax deduction would result in a tax increase for New Yorkers. 

"The elimination of state and local tax deductibility is a death blow to New Yorkers and our economy," he said earlier this week.

New York Republicans are optimistic that an agreement can be reached to alter the existing plan to eliminate the deduction. 

The outcome of those conversations will have a major impact on whether Katko — and other New York GOP members — support the final version of the party's tax reform proposal. 

"While I could not support the measure before the House today, I am hopeful that we are able to find common ground as Congress moves forward to craft a tax reform bill, and I will continue to advocate for my constituents during this process," Katko said. 

U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, announced that the tax reform legislation will be introduced Nov. 1. His committee will begin reviewing the measure Nov. 6. 

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