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Katko pushing for lower taxes, less regulation on businesses

Tom Magnarelli
Rep. John Katko (center) at a manufacturing round table in East Syracuse.

Central New York Republican Rep. John Katko said the amount of taxes and regulations in the U.S. are choking businesses and he wants Congress to pass some relief. The issues facing manufacturers in central New York are similar to what other companies face upstate and across the country.

United Radio is a mid-size, high tech electronics repair and remanufacture facility located in East Syracuse that does business in 150 countries. President Phillip Rubenstein said trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement are very important to his company.

“I’m very happy that’s something that they’re actually looking at renegotiating," Rubenstein said. "I’d hate to see it go away, but it could be improved.”

At a manufacturing round table at United Radio on Tuesday, Katko said Congress has already rolled back some regulations.

“Now, we have to get some tax relief for the businesses, not to the wealthy people, not to line people’s pockets, to get more jobs here, to make companies more competitive internationally," Katko said.

Katko said he also is working on a bipartisan solution to healthcare, which is hammering companies and their workers with rising costs.

There are hundreds of open manufacturing jobs in central New York but like other parts of upstate, there is a lack of skilled workers to fill the openings. Katko said there needs to be a push for more vocational education.

“If you don’t, you’re not going to have the modern manufacturing base here you need that is going to make the economy grow," Katko said. 

Randy Wolken is the president of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York. He said many of the best workers are reaching retirement age.

"We have about a five to ten year window to close the gap and if we don't do it, these companies won't leave because of the taxes, they'll leave because of the people," Wolken said.

Wolken said more career and technical education is gaining momentum in central New York and Syracuse city schools.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.