Faso, Tea­chout pitch plat­forms to chamber

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Pa­tri­cia Doxsey pdoxsey@free­manon­line.com pat­ti­at­free­man on Twit­ter

Con­gres­sional candidates John Faso and Ze­phyr Tea­chout on Thurs­day shared their views with Ul­ster County busi­ness lead­ers on a va­ri­ety of top­ics, in­clud­ing how best to jump-start the econ­omy, term lim­its, trade agree­ments and work­ing across the aisle to break the grid­lock that has stymied Congress.

The two, vy­ing for New York’s 19th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict seat, spoke at the Ul­ster County Re­gional Chamber of Commerce’s monthly break­fast meet­ing at the Best Western Plus Ho­tel in Kingston. The winner will suc­ceed U.S. Rep. Chris Gib­son, R-Kin­der­hook, who is not seek­ing a fourth term in the House..

Both candidates talked about the need to bol­ster the econ­omy

and end cor­rup­tion in govern­ment, but they dif­fered on the rea­sons those prob­lems ex­ist and the best way to achieve those goals.

Tea­chout, a Demo­crat who lives in Dutchess County, called for more sup­port for small and medium-size in­de­pen­dent busi­nesses, and she said big-busi­ness lob­by­ists are in­flu­enc­ing law­mak­ers to ap­prove leg­is­la­tion that, while good for the big busi­nesses, is not good for the small busi­ness owner.

“We are not go­ing to grow if we al­low a hand­ful of big busi­ness own­ers push out the in­de­pen­dent busi­ness own­ers,” Tea­chout said.

“One of the things I’m go­ing to fight for is to re­duce the power of lob­by­ists,” she said. “The cor­rup­tion

in our lob­by­ing sys­tem is cor­rupt­ing our eco­nomic sys­tem.”

Tea­chout blamed big banks for re­fus­ing to lend money to small busi­nesses af­ter get­ting huge tax­payer bailouts, and she crit­i­cized the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment for the loss of 5 mil­lion jobs and 50,000 man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties go­ing over­seas, as well as the pro­posed Tran­sPa­cific Part­ner­ship deal for promis­ing more of the same.

“I will fight to bring jobs home, to make things in Amer­ica again,” she said, adding the trade agree­ments “un­der­mine those ef­forts.

“I re­ally want to sup­port our work­ers here and the work of our stuff here,” she said.

For Faso, a Repub­li­can from Columbia County, the way to jump-start the econ­omy is chang­ing the tax code and reg­u­la­tions

that gov­ern the way busi­nesses op­er­ate. While he said he op­poses the pro­posed Tran­sPa­cific Part­ner­ship trade agree­ment as writ­ten, he said the na­tion needs such agree­ments in order to com­pete in a global econ­omy.

“We are 5 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion and 95 per­cent of our cus­tomers are around the world,” he said.

Rather than scrap­ping the trade deals, Faso said, he would work to re­duce tar­iffs and taxes that busi­nesses have to pay when they bring prof­its back into the coun­try.

Faso crit­i­cized New York state’s pro­posed $15 min­i­mum wage and said the govern­ment can’t in­ter­vene in the bank­ing in­dus­try.

“The worst thing we can pos­si­bly do is say the fed­eral govern­ment is go­ing to force a bank to do some­thing,” he said.

Faso placed the blame for govern­ment cor­rup­tion

on its in­ter­ven­tion into busi­ness, say­ing the cur­rent sys­tem that pro­vides tax breaks to cer­tain busi­nesses “or­dains what type of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment should take place.” He cited the Buf­falo Bil­lion, a project of Gov. An­drew Cuomo’s that is now at the cen­ter of a cor­rup­tion scan­dal, as proof of what can hap­pen when govern­ment starts to pick and choose what kinds of projects to fund.

“I want a neu­tral tax sys­tem that keeps ev­ery­one the same and doesn’t pick the win­ners and losers,” Faso said.

The two candidates did find com­mon ground on the need to change the Medi­care/Med­i­caid re­im­burse­ment for­mula for Ul­ster County, which they said puts the county at a disad­van­tage in the re­gion, and both said they sup­port term lim­its, though only Tea­chout com­mit­ted to a self-im­posed term limit,

say­ing she would leave Congress vol­un­tar­ily af­ter 10 years. Mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives serve two-year terms.

Tea­chout also vowed to fight against the largeves­sel an­chor­ing pro­posal for the Hud­son River and against frack­ing, and she called for more re­sources for sus­tain­able en­ergy and other en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­forts.

Faso told busi­ness lead­ers that as a long­time Columbia County res­i­dent, he un­der­stood the needs of the com­mu­nity bet­ter than Tea­chout, who only re­cently moved into the 19th Dis­trict.

“She has no his­tory, no busi­ness, no fam­ily ... here,” Faso said. “If your go­ing to truly rep­re­sent the peo­ple, you should know some­thing about them.”

He struck a sour note, though, when he said sug­gested Tea­chout would be be­holden to New York City

if elected to Congress.

“New York City is a great place. They al­ready have 13 mem­bers of Congress, we don’t have to give them a 14th,” he said, elic­it­ing mur­murs of dis­plea­sure, boos and com­ments of “low blow” from some mem­bers of the au­di­ence.

Faso, a for­mer state As­sem­bly mi­nor­ity leader, ran un­suc­cess­fully for gov­er­nor against Eliot Spitzer in 2006, will hold the Repub­li­can, Con­ser­va­tive, Re­form and In­de­pen­dence lines on the Novem­ber bal­lot.

Tea­chout ran un­suc­cess­fully for the Demo­cratic party line in the 2014 gu­ber­na­to­rial pri­mary against Gov. An­drew Cuomo, though she car­ried all 11 coun­ties in the 19th Dis­trict.

The dis­trict in­cludes all of Ul­ster, Greene and Columbia coun­ties, most of Dutchess County and some or all of seven other coun­ties.

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