Column: Cuomo to Pence, on tax plan, health care cuts - The Buffalo News

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Column: Cuomo to Pence, on tax plan, health care cuts

Editor’s note: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wrote this letter to Vice President Mike Pence in advance of the vice president’s visit to Buffalo Tuesday.

To Vice President Pence:

Welcome to New York. Know this, when you come to our state to sell health care and tax plans as beneficial when in reality they are a direct attack on New Yorkers – we say no.

The federal government, purposeful or coincidental, is targeting us. New York is harder hit than any other state when we are the largest state contributor to the federal government, sending $48 billion more to Washington each year than we get back. Your policies are a dagger to the heart of New York, pointed straight at our hardworking families.

We say no to a tax proposal that decimates our middle class. By eliminating state and local tax deductibility, your plan hikes the tax bill for millions of middle-class New York families to pay for tax cuts for corporations and the rich. For New York, this plan is not a tax cut; it is double taxation that will result in a tax increase for 3.3 million New Yorkers. No region of our state will go unharmed. In Erie County, where you are visiting, the average taxpayer, who already pays $5,900 in taxes, will be subjected to a more than $3,100 tax increase.

We say no to your administration’s efforts to decimate our health care system, endangering access and affordability for millions of New Yorkers.

We say no to the failure to renew the Child Health Insurance Plan, putting at risk the health care of 350,000 children in our state, including nearly 18,000 children in Western New York.

We say no to devastating cuts to our health care clinics, which serve those who need it most, providing the kind of care and access to our vulnerable populations that they can’t find in emergency rooms. Eliminating the Health Center Program cuts $138 million in federal funding for New York’s 650 federally qualified health center sites that provide high-quality care to 2 million New Yorkers.

We say no to cuts to the Disproportionate Share of Hospital payment program, which once again hit New York harder than any other state. These cuts work to dismantle our public and at-risk hospital system, putting in jeopardy services, staff and their ability to provide quality care to their communities.

We say no to this administration’s repeated efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act bit by bit, which has helped New York expand health care coverage to nearly 3 million people. These actions will drain billions from the system, while slashing benefits and raising premiums. With a stroke of a pen, this administration has taken one more step to put the health of New Yorkers at risk.

We say no to the reckless and draconian proposed budget cuts that are firmly aimed at low-income New Yorkers and take a wrecking ball to programs that provide assistance to the most vulnerable among us. The president’s 2018 budget slashes funding for a long list of safety net services for when people need a helping hand the most in their life, including Medicaid, food stamps, low-income housing and insurance for those disabled on the job.

And we say no to the elimination of funding for transit and infrastructure projects that serve as the life blood of our local economies all across the state. Including cuts that jeopardize the development of our commercial airports upstate and the TIGER grant program which has funded road improvement, transit and other critical infrastructure repair projects. We cannot talk about the affordability and the economic competitiveness of our middle class without investing in the future of our infrastructure.

New York will not accept anything else than full protection for the health and economic stability of our citizens.

We oppose any plan that undermines New York and we will continue to call on our delegation to do the same. I urge New Yorkers to make their voices heard. And I hope, Vice President Pence, that you will use your visit to New York to listen.

Sincerely,

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo

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