Although Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said back in October that she would not run for Congress in 2018, U.S. Rep. John Katko’s decision to vote for the Republican tax code overhaul may convince her to reconsider.
Despite pressure from Democrats and even some New York Republicans, Katko decided to vote for the GOP tax plan. He told Syracuse.com, “It’s not that tough a decision. When you have tax cuts for the middle class and the working poor, it’s a very easy decision for me.”
But others, including Mayor Miner and Governor Andrew Cuomo, feel the overhaul will do immense harm to middle-class and working low-income residents of Central New York. Not only could the tax code impede economic development in Syracuse and other cities like it, but local college students would also suffer. Undergraduate students would no longer have the option to deduct the interest they pay on their student loans, while graduate students would have to pay tax on waived tuition fees. Considering that the New York Federal Reserve reported that more than 44.2 million Americans had student loan debt totaling $1.44 trillion in 2017, the impact of the tax code could be astronomical.
In an interview with Syracuse.com, Miner said, “I’m appalled at the tax bill and I’m particularly appalled that Congressman Katko voted for it. It’s a death sentence for Americans and all of the things that we care about.”
Katko was the third House Republican from New York State to vote in favor of the bill, but five other New York Republican representatives said they planned to vote against it. Katko was considered to be a swing vote, as the Republicans could stand to lose only 20 votes or so to still pass the bill. The House Democrats were expected to all vote unanimously against the bill.
Miner had considered challenging New York Governor Cuomo in next year’s Democratic primary, but Katko’s decision has caused her to reconsider her stance on running for Congress instead.
“…Given the destruction that [the tax bill] would cause to the very fabric of our community, I would have to reconsider,” Miner told Syracuse.com. “My phone has been ringing off the hook from people in Syracuse and elsewhere.”
Miner added that the influx of angry and passionate Syracuse residents who approached her after the recent holiday tree-lighting ceremony at City Hall caused her to rethink her decision.
“There were a number of people in line who thanked me for my service and urged me to run for public office and to reconsider running against John Katko,” Miner said. “Those are the people who matter to me.”
If Miner were to throw her hat into the ring, she would join two other female Democrats, Dana Balter and Anne Messenger, in the quest to challenge Katko in the 2018 mid-term elections next November.