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Lancman picks up union support

State Assemblyman Rory Lancman (c.) gathered with members of the communications union to receive their endorsement for his run for Congress. Photo by Steve Mosco
TimesLedger Newspapers

State Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) accepted the endorsement of the Communications Workers of America District 1 Monday at the Verizon Call Center in Forest Hills in the four-way Democratic primary race for Congress.

The candidate for the seat to be vacated by U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman stood with workers and leaders from the union to demand representatives in Washington, D.C., take a fresh look at the tax code and support the middle class.

“Tomorrow on Tax Day, ordinary Americans will fork over nearly a third of their income in taxes, while the Mitt Romenys and the Verizons of the world will get off without contributing their fair share,” said Lancman. “I’m running for Congress because we need a tax code that helps working families in Queens, not one that rewards millionaires in Manhattan.”

Chris Shelton, vice president of CWA, said the tax issue is important to New Yorkers and the upcoming election is an opportunity to vote in a candidate to fight for working families.

“Vastly profitable corporations such as Verizon pay no income taxes and billionaires pay tax rates lower than their secretaries,” he said. “There is no better way to demonstrate why we need a strong voice in Washington to take on the powerful special interests.”

With union workers chanting his name at the center, at 107-15 70th Road, Lancman spoke about the need to ensure the wealthy pay taxes in line with their income. Lancman also proposed that capital gains income should be taxed on a progressive scale similar to the income tax scale. He said this would ensure billionaire hedge fund managers pay at a higher rate than middle-class New Yorkers.

Using the Buffet Rule as a model, Lancman said when he gets to Congress, he would like to establish a tax rate of at least 30 percent for millionaires and to close corporate tax loopholes. The Buffet Rule, named for billionaire investor Warren Buffet, would establish a tax rate of at least 30 percent for millionaires.

Eliminating these loopholes would level the playing field for small business, according to Lancman.

“Currently large companies that take advantage of loopholes in the tax code pay an average tax rate of only 13 percent, while most small businesses are taxed the full 35 percent,” he said. “The heaviest tax burden should not be on the shoulders of mom-and-pop shops like the ones here in Forest Hills.”

Conversely, Lancman said Verizon paid an average tax rate of 5.2 percent from 2008-10 while receiving $705 million in subsidies and paying its CEO $18 million in salary. This system is detrimental to the economy and devastating for small businesses and union workers alike, according to Lancman, who pointed to the many businesses along Austin St. in Forest Hills as examples.

“I’m extremely proud to have CWA by my side in this campaign — we’ve stood together before on picket lines, at rallies and in the Assembly,” he said. “With their support in this race, I’m looking forward to standing with them in Congress and fighting for a tax code that honors work, not just wealth.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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