Monday, August 29, 2005


Sue's problem with West Point?

Last week, when the Pentagon's Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommended closing Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, they also recommended moving the base's prep school, known as West Point Prep, to the campus of West Point Military Academy in Orange County. News of the move was even noted in London's Guardian newspaper. And while both New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton hailed the move to bring the school, which has around 200 students, to West Point as a positive, Sue was a bit more sanguine.

In a statement that appeared in this article in the Times Herald Record -- does she ever just talk to a reporter instead of having her spokesman fax a statement? -- Sue said the expansion needed to be done "in a way that recognizes the needs of surrounding communities."

Like many prestigious colleges, there's always been a certain amount of town and gown strife between the school and the Town of Highland, where West Point is based. Still, it seems kind of odd that Sue, who claims to be both pro-small business and a patriot, would consider the academy's expansion and the jobs that come with it as a potential negative.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Sue blows off Rockland...

While we at Take19 realize that Rockland County is the smallest part of the 19th Congressional District, it's still not enough of a reason to warrant blowing off the local paper there, particularly when that same paper also covers northern Westchester, which makes up a much larger chunk of the 19th.

But that's exactly what Sue did. In this article that ran in the Rockland edition of The Journal News, the area's two other members of Congress -- Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey -- found the time to talk to the reporter. But Sue only managed to provide a canned comment through a spokesperson. Ironically enough, the article was about how many more constituents have been contacting MCs over the past few years, largely via email. Lowey, for example, noted that she has received nearly 30,000 letters so far this year, compared with just 6,000 for all of 2000. Engel averages around 500 emails a week from constituents. As for Sue, well, it's anyone's guess. Of course, judging by some of the lame responses members of Take19 have received to some of their emails to Sue -- we're in the process of compiling a file of them and plan to post them on our site -- she doesn't seem to take constituent correspondence all that seriously to begin with.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


More pork!

Over the course of two days last week, Sue issued seven different releases, several of which touted all the money she's managed to bring back to the district, including $261,000 from the Department of Homeland Security for a new fire truck in Carmel. Cornwall's fire department also got a chunk of homeland security money, though at under $50,000, it was considerably less than what Carmel received. Most of these releases generated positive headlines in the local papers that Sue counts on to rewrite her press releases and make it look as if she's doing something for the folks back home.

Still, while a new fire truck in Carmel is a welcome gesture, residents of the 19th contribute much more in federal taxes than we receive in return from the federal government So in order to even things out, Sue would have to funnel a lot more pork this way. Perhaps she can look to fellow Republican Don Young, who managed to funnel $941 million to his district and was chided for funding a "bridge to nowhere" where 50 people live. Maybe one day soon, we'll see Sue announce money for a bridge to Bannerman island.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005



A group called In This Together, whose primary issue is preserving Social Security, showed up at Sue's Goshen office yesterday to share a slice of birthday cake with the Congresswoman, according to this article in the Mid-Hudson News. The cake was to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Social Security.

But Sue, who's been keeping her thoughts on Social Security privatization close to her vest, wasn't biting. The closest we've heard her come to expressing an opinion on the subject is that it's "complicated", which seems like a silly attempt to try and hide what she's thinking under the guise of mulling it over.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Sympathy for Small Business or Pay Back for the Mega-Wealthy?

Sue is currently traveling the highways and byways of the 19th Congressional District, letting small business people know that she is in DC fighting for them according to this press release.

But in a major non sequitor for our region, she, in the same breath and the same press release, extols her pride that she is co-sponsoring a bill that would "permanently block the return of the death tax in 2011". This bill passed the House and is currently in the Senate for consideration.

Sue says the "death tax" (which we all - including the IRS - knew as the "estate tax" until the Republican propaganda machine got hold of it) "especially hurts family farms and family-owned businesses."

Unfortunately for Sue (and for us, if her efforts for repeal are successful) that simply is not true. According to the Congressional Research Service, only about 5% of farmers and 3% of business owners dying in 2002 paid any estate tax. In fact, the estate tax will never directly impact Americans in the bottom 99% (guess what, that's almost everyone!).

So, one wonders, exactly whom is Sue helping?

The estate tax law in its current form applies to the estates of deceased people worth over $1.5 million - limiting its coverage to the richest one percent. And, although critics denounce the maximum tax rate of 47%, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that after deductions and exclusions, this levy taxes those few taxable estates at an average rate of 20%. In addition, heirs avoid income tax on the sale of any assets in the estate up to the fair market value of the assets on the date of death.

Therefore, under permanent estate tax repeal, which Sue proudly supports and has been instrumental in getting passed in the House, the federal government would lose approximately $1 trillion in the first decade alone, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Is Sue irresponsibly transferring $1 trillion to her mega-wealthy friends instead of helping small business cope with the health care needs of their employees and the necessary infrastructure maintenance and upgrades needed to keep our region - and the US - attractive to business? What could she be thinking?

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