John Katko

U.S. Rep. John Katko speaks at a press conference in DeWitt in May

The Citizen file

U.S. Rep. John Katko supported sweeping changes to the federal tax code because, he said, it will help grow the local economy and lower taxes for the "vast majority" of taxpayers in the 24th Congressional District.

But make no mistake, tax reform was not a one-and-done bill, because the related decrease in revenue and increase in the national debt are going to be followed up with cuts to spending, and that's where things may get even more dicey.

Alongside talk about the need to cut taxes, Republicans in Washington have not been shy about the fact that "entitlement" reform is their next target. And by "entitlements" they mean Social Security and Medicare, programming that millions of middle-class families rely on.

No matter how they will try to spin it, cuts to Medicare could be as much as $25 billion in 2018, which would have a direct impact on patient services — so we hope Katko is ready, willing and able to prevent that from happening.

As co-chair of a caucus of more than 50 moderate Republicans, Katko is in a good position to exert some influence. There may very well be a need in the months ahead to stand up to the more conservative Republicans who see government programs as giveaways rather than the lifesaving safety nets that they are.

We hope Katko is right about the tax bill, and we'll wait and see along with everybody else whether the cuts will result in a significant positive impact on the local economy. But if any benefit realized by cutting taxes is going to be offset by lessened quality of life for the people who live here, then the tax cuts won't really have done much good.

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