The debate over extending the Bush-era tax cuts is very much an issue in the race for the 24th Congressional district. Democrat Dan Maffei is criticizing incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle's support for keeping the tax cuts in place for everyone.
Buerkle voted with the Republican majority in the House of Representatives last week, passing a bill to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for everyone for a year, saying a tax increase in a weak economy would hurt business. The Democrats on Capitol Hill want the tax cuts extended to everyone but the most wealthy Americans to help bring down the deficit.
Maffei stands with Democrats, although he says he's willing to make changes in the final income level, in order to keep small businesses from being affected.
The Obama administration and other Democrats supports eliminating the tax cuts for dual-income earners making over 250-thousand dollars. The Democrat-dominated Senate passed a bill that would do just that last week.
"If I had my way, I'd have it all the way up to a million. That way, one is absolutely sure we're not hitting small businesses, middle class people anywhere," said Maffei. "So in fact, I've already gone to the level of compromising. I've said, okay, maybe you have a point about a few businesses, so let's not have tax cuts on income under a million dollars."
Maffei made his comments standing in front of a house on Allen Street, in a neighborhood near Syracuse University. He contended those making over a million don't need the money.
"Billionaires are not in need, but your typical middle class family, somebody who lives on this street, my friends who live in this house, they're the ones who need the tax cut, and they need to make sure it's going to be there, so they can do their budgets," said Maffei. "Because they do have to budget, unlike billionaires who can afford to go back to the Clinton-era [tax] levels, which is all we are talking about."
Maffei says Buerkle and her fellow Republicans are holding middle class families hostage, by not compromising on the issue of tax cuts for the very wealthy. Buerkle says businesses and individuals need some certainty about what their taxes will be. The tax cuts expire at the end of the year.
Former Congressman Maffei is running against Buerkle and Green Party Candidate Ursula Rozum in the November election.