Republican Chris Collins is keeping up his strategy of tying Democratic Kathleen C. Hochul to President Obama, who is unpopular in the 27th District.
A 30-second television commercial also makes claims about the incumbent representative’s tax record while ignoring the challenger’s own record.
Collins’ ad, “The Pretender,” is somewhat misleading.
The 30-second ad, paid for by the Collins campaign, uses a grainy black-and-white photograph of Hochul with the phrase “Kathy Hochul is a Pretender” floating on the screen.
As claims are made about Hochul, the photo of her is ripped away to reveal a full color picture of Hochul and Obama, which was taken shortly after Hochul was elected in 2011 and has been used many times by the Collins campaign to attack the incumbent.
Obama’s unfavorable rating in the district is 52 percent, while Hochul’s is 39 percent, and Collins’ is 40 percent, according to a Siena poll taken Oct. 1-4. Just 42 percent of poll respondents said they would vote for Obama, while 51 percent said they would vote for Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Just before Collins comes on the screen to say he approved the message, the ad ends by saying: “Kathy Hochul. What you see isn’t always what you get.”
Claim: “Kathy Hochul pretends to be in favor of a lot of things, like lower taxes, but Hochul raised taxes 11 times as a member of the Hamburg Town Board.”
Fact: This claim is accurate. What the commercial doesn’t say, however, is that Collins proposed a 2009 budget as Erie County executive that raised the average property tax rate by 3.6 percent, and the levy by 8 percent. Following a court fight with County Legislature Democrats, who wanted to eliminate the increase, the rate was set at nearly 2 percent more than the 2008 rate.
Claim: “In Congress she voted for billions more in new taxes when she said no to extending the 2001 tax cuts.”
Fact: This claim is somewhat misleading. Hochul voted in favor of extending the tax cuts for people with incomes below $250,000, saying to extend them for everyone would add too much to the deficit.
She voted against a bill that extended tax cuts for people at every income level.
The value of the tax cuts are measured in billions.
While the Democratic proposal would add $223 billion to the deficit next year, the Republican plan adds an additional $81 billion to the deficit, according to July estimates from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.
Extending tax breaks for high income earners would cost $50 billion more and a Republican measure to reduce the estate and gift tax would cost another $31 billion, according to the committee.
Collins has said he would keep tax cuts for people at every income level and prefers a system that combines six tax brackets into three.
Claim: “She even voted for Obama’s trillion-dollar middle-class tax increase to fund Obamacare, when she refused to stop it.”
Fact: This claim is false.
The Affordable Care Act raises taxes, but they are not exclusive to the middle class, and they don’t add up to $1 trillion, according to government estimates.
Beginning in 2013, for couples with incomes of more than $250,000 or single filers with incomes more than $200,000, Medicare payroll taxes will increase .9 percentage points and a new 3.8 percent tax will be levied on investment income, bringing in $210.2 billion over 10 years, according to Politifact.org.
Other taxes include a 10 percent excise tax aimed at tanning-bed users and a 40 percent tax on high-end health plans.
Still other taxes are placed on medical-device manufacturers, health insurers and drug companies.
The Congressional Budget Office in July estimated that all of the law’s provisions will add $569 billion in new revenue from 2013 to 2022, while the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the law will bring in $438 billion through 2019.
Hochul was not in Congress when the act was passed, though she has voted against repeal of the entire law.
While Democrats and Republicans argue whether the law imposes “penalties” or “taxes,” in a opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law.