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Owens Waffles on Tax Cuts, Parties with Rahm Emanuel

Press Release

Location: Watertown, NY

Incumbent Cements Ties to White House While Claiming Tax Hikes Would Have "Little Impact" on District

Congressional candidate Matt Doheny of Watertown says incumbent Rep. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) is playing politics with the decision to extend or end the so-called Bush-era tax cuts -- and that his belief that raising taxes on wealthier individuals "has little impact in the north country" shows a disturbing lack of knowledge on how small businesses work and what they need.

What is not lacking, Doheny said, is Owens' allegiance to the Obama administration and its failed economic policies. He referred to a September 19 fundraiser in New York City for Owens headlined by Rahm "Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste" Emanuel, Obama's controversial chief of staff, prime Congressional strategist, and possible Chicago mayoral candidate. The event was held at the Park Avenue apartment of top Democratic fundraisers Jane Hartley and Ralph Schlosstein and was also to raise funds for incumbent 20th District Rep. Scott Murphy (D-Glens Falls).

Doheny pointed to the fundraiser as proof positive that the White House will be going all out to get Owens re-elected, and that if that happens the incumbent will return the favor when it comes time to vote on such matters as healthcare, increased federal spending, and the Bush-era tax cuts.

Owens' comments on the tax cuts appeared in a September 16 story in the Watertown Daily Times.

"Mr. Owens is apparently in favor of raising taxes on those who make $200,000 or more, or perhaps $500,000 or more, or perhaps he'll just be in favor of tax credits -- but don't hold him to that," Doheny said, referencing the interview with Owens. In the story, the incumbent says "I need to remain flexible" given that "many things are floating around out there."

The story by Times' Washington, D.C. correspondent Marc Heller continues: "And while raising taxes on the wealthiest households has little impact in the north country, whether the income threshold is $250,000 or $500,000, the definition is more meaningful in other places, Mr. Owens said."

"The threat of these tax hikes is very meaningful to the small business owners across the 23rd Congressional district who are trying to stay afloat," Doheny said. "This isn't just about individuals -- it's about individuals who are also entrepreneurs, who are also employers. It's disturbing that our Representative doesn't acknowledge that fact or just doesn't understand the economic impact of a tax hike."

Doheny said that the prospect of higher taxes has put many small businesses at home and across the country "on hold, at a time when their growth is needed most." Uncertainty about tax hikes is a serious concern among small businesses, according to statements from the National Federation of Independent Business. "To paraphrase the late Jack Kemp -- you can't love jobs and hate the job creators, " Doheny said,

With virtually every economic indicator on a downward spiral, Doheny has said that the Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels -- including low and middle incomes -- should be extended and ideally made permanent.

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