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Residents voice opposition to tax bill, Miner reconsiders run against Katko

Tom Magnarelli
Dr. Raúl Huerta of Fayetteville wants Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner to run against Rep. John Katko."

A packed audience in Syracuse participated in a town hall on congressional Republicans’ tax bill Tuesday. The town hall was hosted by Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who is reconsidering a run against central New York Republican Rep. John Katko.

In October, Miner said she would not run against Katko in 2018. But Miner said it is a combination of the tax bill itself, and what she said is Katko’s failure to talk about his vote for the bill with his constituents, that is making her rethink that decision.

Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News
Miner speaks with the crowd at the tax bill town hall in Syracuse.

"This tax bill is a major redistribution of wealth to billionaires," Miner said. "He hid and thought that he could take the vote quietly, and then take the donors' money and then justify the vote afterwards. I think that is a desperate sign of a democracy and a representative that needs to be challenged."

Katko's campaign said Miner is using her official office as a campaign tool. Miner invited Katko to the town hall but he is in Washington.

"This is about how the federal government impacts the people of the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County; people that I have, in one way or another, spent the past 16 years of my life, doing all that I could, to give them better opportunity," Miner said. "What this tax bill does is devastate all of the things that we believe in."

Peggy Murray of Jamesville said she is very upset by the bill and said it is unconscionable for Katko to vote for the bill, which eliminates many deductions.

"It’s a blatant excuse to give a tax cut to wealthy people who don’t need it in the first place and to finance that through taxing people who can’t afford it even more," Murray said.

John Driscoll, a retired state worker who lives in Syracuse, said he is also very opposed to the tax bill and said he expected more from Katko.

"I frankly, cannot see anything in this bill, from the little information that we get, that speaks highly of it for anybody other than the very privileged," Driscoll said. "I’m a senior citizen, I’m on limited income, and I worked hard for it, and I see these people out there trying to pull it all out from under me."

No one at the town hall spoke in favor of the tax bill.

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.