Congressman Lawler calls China bad actor after Moscow meeting

March 20, 2023

Mid Hudson News

WASHINGTON – Following a meeting in Moscow on Monday described by China as a peacemaking effort between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Congressman Mike Lawler (R, NY-17) issued a statement about his concerns surrounding the visit. The meeting was Xi Japing’s first trip to Russia since the invasion of Ukraine.

“I am deeply concerned about Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow today,” said Congressman Lawler. “The fact that Xi would give Vladimir Putin the international diplomatic recognition he so desperately craves indicates how bad of an actor China is on the global stage.”

Lawler called Xi and Putin “a pernicious pair who are busy plotting dominance of Eurasia. The United States and our allies must continue to apply diplomatic pressure to ensure that the entire Eurasian region does not fall under their control and influence.”

In a letter published in the Chinese state media that turned heads around the globe, Putin welcomed Xi to Moscow calling Xi his “good old friend.”

Lawler’s roundtable on Hochul housing plan, in 6 quotes

March 8, 2023

The Journal News

By Peter D. Kramer

Local officials gathered with the congressman to raise concerns about the governor’s Housing Compact

After more than an hour behind closed doors on Tuesday, Republican Congressman Mike Lawler and a bipartisan group of elected officials from the Lower Hudson Valley spilled out onto the front lawn of North Castle Town Hall and did two things together.

They shivered in the cold. And they declared Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Housing Compact was bad for local control, bad for the environment and bad for their communities.

Speakers derided Hochul’s call to rezone a half-mile-radius area around MTA train stations to permit high-density housing while softening environmental review. The impact of such housing could further strain infrastructure, schools and public safety, they said. And the governor’s $250 million for infrastructure improvements was woefully short of what is needed, they said.

Lawler, a freshman congressman tailed for the day by a film crew from the Showtime series “The Circus,” said each leader acknowledged the need for housing, but not at the expense of local control.

Here are 6 quotes from the press conference that represent the hurdle Hochul faces when trying to sell her housing plan here:

Congressman Mike Lawler: ‘Local control is a bedrock’

“Local control is a bedrock in New York state,” Lawler said. “Our supervisors and town boards, our mayors, our village trustees, along with the planning boards and the zoning boards, they make decisions on development and what is in the best interests of their communities with input from the residents. This plan would basically upend that. It would upend the constitutional rights of our local municipalities and force a one-size-fits-all approach to housing. It’s unsustainable. It’s wrong and it violates the rights of these municipalities.

Assemblyman Matt Slater: ‘Local control, not Hochul control’

“We know the $250 million in infrastructure investment being proposed by Gov. Hochul is a joke,” said Matt Slater, a new Assemblyman and former Yorktown supervisor. “It’s almost insulting. But nothing’s more insulting than a one-size-fits-all approach. I said it before. I’ll keep saying it. We want local control, not Hochul control.”

State Sen. Bill Weber: ‘Bad for our local municipalities’

Rockland Republican State Sen. Bill Weber said: “We’re going to work as hard as we can in Albany to make sure that we galvanize the support of our senators and assemblymen to really come out against this entire proposal because it’s bad for our local municipalities.”

Ossining Supervisor Elizabeth Feldman: ‘Sit down with each municipality’

Ossining Supervisor Elizabeth Feldman, a Democrat, said: “The state needs to have a task force to sit down with each municipality, understanding where their challenges are, and work with them to achieve the affordable housing that all of us want. It’s irresponsible just to say ‘You have to do it, and we’re not giving you any tools.’ To sit with us and develop the tools is what we really need and to respect our environment and protect it. And especially our watershed, which is irreplaceable.”

Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann: Solve local problems at the local level

Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann, a Republican, said: “Our local land-use boards are our own neighbors, they’re our own residents. They live within the community. They judge and they listen to the community. They’re appointed for longer terms than the elected officials, and that’s for a reason: So that they’re not subject to the political whims of whoever’s in power. … This proposal by the governor works completely against that. So we oppose it. I look forward to working with the congressman and with all the other electeds here to make sure that whatever is done in New York is done to protect our environment, protect our community, and to bring about the right results.”

North Castle Supervisor Michael J. Schiliro: ‘Think about the impact’

North Castle Supervisor Michael Schiliro, a Democrat, said: “(Near) the North White Plains train station, there are neighborhoods in that community that, already dense, would allow 6,000 more units to be built, 50 units per acre. … Think about the impact on infrastructure, the environment, our schools that are already bursting at the seams, our fire departments, our police departments. Our sewer plant downtown, if we had to increase the capacity, (would cost) $20 million. … We want to work with the governor because we share a lot of goals, but one size can’t fit all. And to have New York State have oversight on local zoning and all of our communities is a disservice to the people that have built these towns and the residents that put us here.”

Republican officials who attended but did not speak included: North Salem Supervisor Warren Lucas, Somers Supervisor Robert Scorrano, Yorktown Supervisor Tom Diana, Carmel Supervisor Michael Cazzari, and Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi.

Elected Democrats who attended but did not speak included Haverstraw Supervisor Howard Phillips, Tarrytown Mayor Karen Brown, and West Haverstraw Mayor Robert D’Amelio.

Plan to increase housing in suburbs meets pushback by Hudson Valley leaders

March 7, 2023

News 12 Connecticut

By Lee Danuff and Nadia Galindo

A plan to increase housing in the suburbs is being met with pushback from some Hudson Valley leaders.

A roundtable discussion was attended by over a dozen local leaders at North Castle Town Hall on Tuesday. They agree there is a critical need for additional housing but say they oppose Gov. Kathy Hochul’s New York Housing Compact plan to solve that issue.

It would require municipalities in counties that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority serves to increase housing by 3% in the next three years.

Rep. Mike Lawler organized the gathering and said the plan requires a significant investment in infrastructure to support new residents and takes away local control.

“It would upend the constitutional rights of our local municipalities and force a one-size-fits-all approach to housing,” says Lawler. 

Hochul is proposing in her budget to include $250 million to fund housing infrastructure and $20 million for planning assistance. She promised to deliver more funding if necessary.

The state also recently met with Westchester municipal officials about the proposal.

Biden’s Ukraine Visit Important to Stop Putin – Mike Lawler

February 28, 2023

The Stock Dork

By Byron Dovey

According to US Representative Michael Lawler (R-N.Y.), President Joe Biden’s secret trip to Ukraine on February 20 sent a clear message to Russia and China.

The message was that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine must be stopped. If not, it could encourage Russia to do the same with other Soviet satellite states.

Why was Biden’s visit important?

“I think it is critically important that Vladimir Putin not be successful in this mission. If he is allowed to succeed, he will not stop there,” Lawler said in an interview. “And I am confident that if he succeeds in Ukraine, he will go into Moldova and other former Soviet satellite countries.”

Lawler emphasized that the visit was significant because it coincided with the first anniversary of the Ukraine invasion. He stated that it was essential to show Putin there was united opposition to his invasion of Ukraine and for violating its sovereignty.

Lawler added that it is “important that we speak with one voice that the United States and our allies around the world continue to oppose Russia and provide Ukraine with the support that they need, militarily and financially, to win this war,” Lawler continued.

Lawler also discussed Putin’s recent announcement that Russia will withdraw from the new START treaty with the United States. This was “just one more example of the irrational behavior that we’ve seen by Putin over the last year plus.”

The START treaty was signed in 2010 between President Barack Obama and his Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and it was the last intact nuclear arms control pact with the United States.

Could there be a new ‘Axis of evil”?

Lawler also stated that the outcome of the Ukraine crisis would have a direct impact on communist China, which he described as America’s “greatest geopolitical foe.”

“What President Xi would do with respect to Taiwan if Russia is to succeed here!” Lawler said.

Lawler believes that China has long been in cahoots with Russia and that they, along with Iran and North Korea, formulate the new “axis of evil.”

“We need to ensure that the actions that we are taking continue to put the United States in a strong position economically, militarily, and from a national security perspective and that we are holding these bad actors accountable for what they are doing around the world to frankly undermine democracy and freedom across the globe,” Lawler said.

Putin remarks were ‘delusional rantings of a madman’: Rep. Mike Lawler

February 21, 2023

Fox News

Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., responds to President Biden and Vladimir Putin’s speeches ahead of the one-year milestone of the war in Ukraine and discusses Mayor Eric Adams’ attack on Gov. Ron DeSantis over pro-police tour.

Lawler, Local Officials Ramp Up Opposition to Hochul’s Housing Plan

February 13, 2023

Westchester County Association

By Martin Wilbur

Congressman Mike Lawler (R-Pearl River) blasted Gov. Kathy Hochul for preparing to press forward with her proposed housing plan that he and other officials have charged would irreparably damage many of the region’s communities.

Joined by state and local elected officials from Westchester and Rockland counties at a Friday press conference at the Hawthorne Metro-North station, Lawler lambasted the governor, particularly for the transited-oriented development segment of her New York Housing Compact along with the proposed MTA payroll tax hike and proposing the largest spending plan in state history at $227 billion.

Under the current proposal, land within a half-mile radius of every MTA-operated train station in the region would be rezoned to allow for multifamily housing.

The congressman said it would not only trample on home rule but there isn’t the infrastructure, such as water and sewer, in many communities to sustain that level of development. Schools could also be overrun. Lawler estimated that there could be more than 10,000 new housing units in the 17th Congressional District alone.

“It’s not that we’re against housing. We all recognize the need for it,” Lawler said. “But we respect the rule of law. We respect the fact that local control of zoning is a bedrock principle in the state of New York. It is a constitutional right and the governor is proposing to eliminate it. It’s simply unconscionable.”

Lawler said the proposed $250 million the state would make available for infrastructure upgrades associated with the plan is a pittance that could be used up by a small number of municipalities because building sewer infrastructure and improving roads are so expensive.

Hochul’s plan has been met with widespread bipartisan condemnation from local officials, perhaps most strongly throughout the lower Hudson Valley and Long Island. The Housing Compact calls for every downstate municipality to increase its housing stock by 3 percent every three years to help reach the plan’s goal of building 800,000 new units statewide within the next decade.

That would mean about 300 new housing units in the Village of Ossining, 270 additional units in Somers and 410 in Yorktown, according to Lawler.

Assemblyman Matt Slater (R-Yorktown) said having the state dictate zoning to municipalities should be appalling to everyone as many towns have been taking steps to increase housing where it’s sustainable. He said one housing plan on Route 118 in Yorktown can’t move forward because the town needs help from the state to make improvements to the state road.

Slater said Yorktown, where he served as supervisor for three years, has recognized the need for diversified housing stock. The town has aggressively updated its zoning to try and meet the need, but that must remain a local government decision, he said.

“We want local control, not Hochul control,” Slater said. “It’s absurd that we are going to actually lose control of our own decision-making process, that the numbers that the congressman was talking about, where are you going to put these housing pieces, these housing complexes?

North Castle Supervisor Michael Schiliro has been one of the most outspoken local officials against Hochul’s housing plans since early last year when she proposed having as-of-right accessory dwelling unit for every home. He said the Housing Compact fails to recognize that a town such as North Castle has had accessory dwelling unit legislation on the books for nearly 40 years and started its Middle-Income Unit program in the 1990s, he said. North Castle has also had an affordable housing ordinance in effect for close to a decade.

Schiliro called the governor’s proposal a one-size-fits-all approach that “is the most egregious form of government overreach” that he’s ever seen. Despite his criticisms, he applauded her efforts, but not the proposed method.

“What she’s trying to do to try and achieve some of these (housing) goals, we’ve all been doing already,” Schiliro said. “But the governor is stripping local governments of the ability to have a say.”

Somers Supervisor Robert Scorrano said his town has done its fair share developing housing that is more moderately priced.

“To strip that (decision-making) away from us, to strip the ability to be able to know what’s in the best interests for your town is irresponsible,” he said. “Leaders lead at the highest levels. I urge the governor to listen to what is going on in the surrounding areas, in Putnam County, in Westchester County, Rockland County and Long Island.”

Lawler contended that there should be incentives where the local and state governments can work together to come up with a workable plan to increase the housing supply.

“A lot of the local municipalities have state routes that run right through them, and so the state’s unwilling to invest in critical infrastructure, the state’s unwilling to partner with the municipalities,” he said.

Despite the pushback from local governments, housing advocates have largely supported Hochul’s proposals. Marlene Zarfes, executive director of the non-profit Westchester Residential Opportunities, said her organization is “broadly supportive” of Hochul’s plan to create more housing and some compromise will need to be retained regarding home rule. But too little has been done for too long, she said.

“Some local control of siting and environmental impacts is and will continue to be important, but historically home rule has been used as a tool to exclude lower income and minority households from access to higher opportunity areas,” Zarfes said. “The result is the housing crisis we have today. The governor’s policies reflect the sad reality that localities don’t have the will to solve this on their own.”

The Westchester County Association, the county’s preeminent independent business organization, said it has also supported Hochul’s proposal because the biggest impediment to attracting and retaining talent is the housing issue, said its President and CEO Michael Romita.

He said it will be interesting to see if the governor refines any of her proposals, including the Housing Compact, but Romita doesn’t expect any widescale revisions on her part.

“Our local communities have to understand that in many cases there’s a NIMBYism that’s a tremendous barrier to get the housing that we need,” Romita said. “We need to find the ways to break the logjams. But where the governor’s proposal starts out, it’s not the zombie apocalypse that a lot of people make it out to be. It’s not telling local communities what to do; it’s telling them to please do something.”

Don’t sleep on Rep. Mike Lawler

February 9, 2023

Roll Call

By Justin Papp

New York Republican settles into Washington after November upset

Being a Republican in deep-blue New York, Mike Lawler is used to being a perennial underdog.

Yet the 36-year-old first-term congressman has churned out a series of wins in largely Democratic districts and ascended quickly through the ranks of local, state and now national politics. In November, he toppled Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Sean Patrick Maloney in what was one of the most shocking upsets of the midterms.

Lawler’s just getting settled in Washington — empty boxes were piled along a wall in the lobby of his Longworth office and the walls were still mostly bare in late January — but he’s already learned one thing. “This is a rough and tumble business in Washington, more so than any state capital,” said the former state assemblyman. “Politics ain’t beanbag.”

He met with Heard on the Hill near the end of his first month in office and reflected on his early days in Washington, his embattled New York colleague George Santos and whether his vow to work with anyone and everyone will stand the test of time. 

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Q: You’re a New York guy. So what are your sports loyalties?

A: Yankees, Giants, Rangers. I still remember watching every game of the 1994 Stanley Cup finals.

I was a vendor at Yankee Stadium when I was in college, so I got to watch every game for free. I got to meet everyday people from all walks of life, and it certainly puts your salesmanship skills to the test. I had hotdogs, soda, Cracker Jacks, peanuts — it would vary. It was a union job and seniority-based, so the beer guys were there from the 1970s.

If I had to say a basketball team, it would be the Knicks. But it’s probably my least favorite sport.

Q: You scored one of the bigger upsets this cycle, unseating DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney. How did you pull that off? And can you repeat the victory with Democrats gunning for the seat?

A: I think there were a few factors. Number one, redistricting produced a fair set of maps in New York, so there were a lot of competitive districts. 

Number two, Democrats controlled everything in Washington, Albany and New York City for the first time in our nation’s history, and they created a mess. 

And number three, I was from the district, born and raised. I’ve lived there my whole life. Maloney only represented a quarter of it, so he didn’t have that built-in advantage of incumbency. 

I stayed hyper-focused on the issues that mattered to voters, like affordability and crime. I was campaigning everywhere, doing six, seven, eight events a day, while he was galavanting the globe in London, Geneva and Paris with a month to go. 

I’ve won two elections in a row in heavily Democratic districts. I won a two-to-one Democratic district for the state assembly in 2020 in a presidential year, and I won this district, which has 70,000 more Democrats than Republicans. Folks can underestimate me at their own peril.

Q: You’ve called on Rep. George Santos to resign as his résumé and campaign finances come under scrutiny. But for now, he’s still a part of the New York delegation. Have you had contact with him?

A: There’s no relationship, and certainly the freshman members of the delegation are not dealing with him at all. His conduct is embarrassing and unbecoming, and frankly, the fact that he really has not taken responsibility in a serious and meaningful way just reflects very poorly on his ability to do his job.

Q: While campaigning, you said you were willing to work with everybody from Kevin McCarthy to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Can you really do that?

A: Absolutely. You know, I did a press conference just a few weeks ago with Josh Gottheimer, the Democrat from New Jersey, and I’ve already signed on to a number of bills introduced by Democrats and have sought their co-sponsorships on legislation I’m introducing. 

You need to be able to build relationships within your own conference and across the aisle, especially coming from a district like mine. My objective is to get things done.

I went to the president’s reception [last month], and I will continue to work those channels. [At the same time], the White House needs to recognize that there is no longer one-party rule, and they can’t just circumvent the speaker. They need to negotiate in good faith. 

Q: When you say you want to get things done, what does that include?

A: All of us who got elected in the House Republican majority, we did so to be a check and balance on the Biden administration. And that starts with spending. 

We need to get on the path toward a balanced budget. If you go back and look at any major spending reforms in our nation’s history, they have almost always been tied to the debt ceiling. So I don’t find this to be shocking or new. This is a reality, and it’s a tool that we in the House have to force the White House to the table.

Obviously, I want to lift the cap on SALT, to ensure that especially my constituents, who live in a high tax area, can afford to live there.

And we need to secure our border and really fix our immigration system once and for all. My wife is an immigrant. This is not about being anti-immigrant. It’s about having a system in place that actually works.

Quick hits

Favorite concert? My first concert was The Beach Boys, way back when in the ’90s. I went to see The Who with my dad before he died, and I also saw Michael Jackson’s last concert four days before 9/11.

Last book you read? “When Character Was King” by Peggy Noonan, about Ronald Reagan.

One thing you’ve learned this month? Politics ain’t beanbag.

Least popular opinion? My unabashed support for natural gas.

In politics, do the ends justify the means? No, you need to have integrity in everything you do.

Lawler wants to double SALT deductions for married couples in latest bid for tax help

January 30, 2023

The Journal News

By David McKay Wilson

U.S. Rep. Mike Lawler’s bill to double the deductibility of state and local taxes for married couples is the latest attempt by a New York political leader to either undo or soften the impact of Trump-era tax reforms that have penalized homeowners in high-tax states like New York.

Lawler’s bill to make the state-and-local-tax deduction cap – known as the SALT cap – more palatable comes two years before the $10,000-limit on SALT deductions, and the accompanying tax cuts for individuals and businesses passed in 2017, will expire at the end of 2025.

Lawler, R-Pearl River, said the bill would eliminate what he calls the “marriage penalty” in the current regulations. The regulations allow single filers to deduct $10,000 in SALT payments from their taxable income. But married couples filing jointly have the same limit. If married partners file separately, they can only claim $5,000 each.

Lawler, who says he wants to cut government spending to help rein in the federal deficit, declined to disclose what the measure would cost the federal government in lost tax revenue nor what government spending he would cut to make up for the loss.

He said the cost of his bill was “negligible” when compared to the cost of eliminating the cap, which the Brookings Institute has estimated at $85 billion a year.

“As we move forward in the budget process, and work to reduce wasteful government spending, this change will provide tax relief for hardworking Hudson Valley families, who will see a return of thousands of dollars to their pockets at a time they need it most,” he said.

Lawler in November ousted US Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-Cold Spring, whose home ended up in the 17th Congressional District following redistricting. That district comprised about 75% of the former district of Rep. Mondaire Jones, who decided not to primary Maloney, and moved to Brooklyn in an unsuccessful bid to win a Democratic primary there.

Jones has since moved back to Westchester, and now lives in Sleepy Hollow, which is located in the 17th District.

Jones doubted that House Republicans will rectify the damage done in 2017.

“Republicans were the ones who capped the deduction at $10,000, and here this guy is trying to suggest that Republicans will provide relief to residents in the Hudson Valley,” said Jones, who debuted Wednesday evening at his new gig as an on-air commentator on CNN. “It’s a modest attempt to rectify the great damage done by Republicans in December 2017.”

Whether Lawler can find traction among a bipartisan coalition in Congress remains to be seen. The bill’s co-sponsors include Rep. Anthony Esposito, a Long Island Republican, and Rep. Mikie Sherill, D-NJ.

Lawler said he’s counting on the 14 Republicans from New York and New Jersey and 12 Republicans from California to form a coalition that could help sway the Republican conference.

He believes he can convince the Republican-controlled House to pass it.

“We are a formidable voting bloc that can move or not move legislation,” he said. “For the purposes of getting something done on SALT, that is an avenue we may pursue.”

Democrat attempts

Democrats couldn’t get it done when they controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency. At the time, Westchester County was ground-zero for press conferences by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-Nassau, who made his SALT deduction campaign a centerpiece of his failed bid for the Democratic nomination for NY governor.

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, tried as well, leading the effort that convinced the village of Scarsdale to sue the IRS after it announced a regulation that prohibited municipalities from setting up charitable funds that New York Democrats believed could be used to circumvent the SALT cap. That case lingers in US District Court in Manhattan, with no action in the case since the fall of 2021 as the village awaits a ruling from Judge Paul Gardephe.

In 2021, House Democrats upped the cap on SALT deductions to $80,000 in the Build Back Better legislation, an addition to the massive spending bill insisted upon by some New York and New Jersey members of Congress.

But that bill, which passed the House, failed to win Senate approval. A scaled-back bill that passed in 2022 did not include raising the SALT deduction cap.

Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, said the fight over continuation of the Trump tax cuts in 2025 is expected to become a major issue in the 2024 presidential campaign and Congressional elections. The cap on SALT deductions are certain to be part of that debate, he said.

“If Congress does nothing, it will revert to the original deduction, which will be great for the rich in high-tax states like New York,” he said.

Republicans wanted the cap on deductions

 House Republicans were adamant in 2017 that the SALT deductions be capped as a way to pay for the Trump tax cuts.

Now Republicans, including Lawler, are concerned with the rise in the federal deficit, which was fueled in part by the tax cuts.

In 2023, those concerns about the federal deficit have led to warning that they will not approve raising the federal debt limit unless Democrats agree to cuts in federal spending, which could include reductions in Social Security and Medicare.

Lawler in January voted for the House Republican plan to rescind $80 billion to restructure the IRS that was approved by the Democratic majority and signed by President Biden in 2022. That action, which lacks support in the Democrat-controlled Senate, would add an estimated $114 billion to the federal deficit over 10 years, according to a Congressional Budget Office report.

Lawler said he’ll rely on his expertise learned at Manhattan College and running his political consulting firm when he takes aim with the budget knife at the burgeoning federal budget.

“As someone who graduated with an accounting degree from Manhattan College and who also owns a small business, I know the importance of going line-by-line through any budget to save costs and produce a long-term plan that closes the deficit and reduces our debt.”

‘You will create chaos’ – GOP reps blast Kathy Hochul plan for suburban housing

January 25, 2023

New York Post

By Zach Williams and Carl Campanile

Republican members of Congress say they have had it with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s “radical state takeover” of local government following her controversial proposal to build 800,000 new housing units — even over the objections of local planning boards.

The criticism comes in a letter, exclusively obtained by The Post, that reads: “While we all understand the need for increasing the availability of housing, especially affordable housing, we cannot support a one-size fits all approach to local zoning.

“By forcing unit quotes onto municipalities and by providing little to no investment for critical infrastructure upgrades, you will create chaos.”

The letter – signed by the entire GOP state delegation except for lying Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau), who was intentionally left off the missive – highlights the difficulty Hochul will have in shaking up suburban housing rules nearly one year after abandoning an effort to overrule local zoning laws by loosening restrictions on granny flats and other Accessory Dwelling Units.

Her new proposal mandates that cities meet targets to increase their housing stock by several percentage points annually while requiring changes to building rules close to public transit.

“Simply put, a mandatory rezoning of neighborhoods within half a mile of MTA, Metro North or Long Island Rail Road stations, would be a radical state takeover of a local government function,” the reps said in the letter organized by freshman congressman Mike Lawler (R-Pearl River).

Also signing the letter were Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-North Country), Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island), Nick LaLota (R-Nassau), Andrew Garbarino (R-South Shore), Anthony D’Esposito (R-Suffolk), Marc Molinaro (R-Hudson Valley), Claudia Tenney (R-Central NY), Brandon Williams (R-Central NY) and Nick Langworthy (R-Western NY).

“Our local governments are already drowning under unfunded mandates and dictates from the state — the absolute last thing we should be doing is adding to their burden with this wrongheaded and unconstitutional plan,” Langworthy said.

The GOP reps say that approach would effectively “eliminate home rule altogether” while providing a “recipe for disaster” by straining local roads, water, sewage, transit, schools and emergency services unprepared to accommodate big population increases.

“I’m startled by this attempt at a sweeping state mandate that would eliminate centuries of legal precedent and render towns, villages, and cities incapable of deciding for themselves how they want their neighborhoods to look,” Lawler said.

Hochul spokesman Justin Henry pushed back at GOP suggestions that the governor was trying to strong-arm local communities by pushing them to promote the construction of more housing amid ongoing shortages and rising prices.

“To address the severe housing crisis plaguing New York State, Governor Hochul proposed a bold plan to create 800,000 new homes in the next decade by working collaboratively and flexibly with cities and towns that need more housing,” Henry said.

“Gov. Hochul is eager to work on solving the housing crisis and making New York more affordable with any elected leader who wants to be part of the solution,” he added.

Hold the salt: Rockland Congressman introduces bill to raise federal tax cap

January 24, 2023

Rockland County Times

By Joe Kuhn, Managing Editor

Congressman Lawler (NY-17) is working to reverse a recent change in federal policy that has left many New Yorkers with a much higher tax bill. On Monday, Lawler took the first steps toward realizing his campaign promise to dismantle the S.A.L.T. cap put in place by former president Trump, which limits the amount of state taxes that a U.S. citizen can deduct from their federal taxes. In a state such as New York, which carries some of the highest tax rates in the U.S., the $ 10,000 cap on state tax reductions has presented a finical burden to many families . 

Standing outside Clarkstown Town Hall and flanked by County Executive Ed Day, Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann, Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht, Orangetown Supervisor Teresa Kenny, and Stony Point Supervisor Jim Monaghan, Lawler announced his introduction of a new bill intended to ease the tax burden facing families in states with higher tax rates, the “SALT Marriage Penalty Elimination Act.”

“Hudson Valley families suffer under some of the highest taxes in the nation,” said Rep. Lawler. “The misguided SALT tax cap has only added to their pain in recent years. That’s why I’m proud to introduce the SALT Marriage Penalty Elimination Act; this bill will double the cap for married couples filing jointly to $20,000,” continued Rep. Lawler. “It’s the first in a series of bills, which I’m calling the Hudson Valley Affordability Pact, that will tackle cost-of-living and affordability issues in the 17th Congressional District and beyond.

“The SALT Marriage Penalty Elimination Act, combined with the Anti-Congestion Tax Act, is the first step in providing real relief to Hudson Valley families and commuters,” concluded Rep. Lawler. “While I am committed to fully repealing the SALT Cap, this is a measure we can enact this year as we work towards that larger goal.”

The SALT Marriage Penalty Elimination Act removes a penalty imposed on married individuals in the current tax code, doubling the cap for joint filers. It is co-sponsored by Rep. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (NY-4).