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Jennings rules out taxes to lower debt

Former Councilman Allan Jennings would introduce legislation to help homeowners if elected to Congress. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

Southeast Queens congressional candidate Allan Jennings is not about to let a defeat — or a political title, for that matter — keep him down.

After losing the Democratic primary to U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) in September, the former city councilman will face off against the seven-term incumbent in the November general election as a Republican.

“The good part about me is that I’m a Democrat. I’m a lifelong Democrat. I’m being supported by the Republican Party of both counties,” he said during a recent interview at the TimesLedger Newspapers, referring to Queens and Nassau County. “So I don’t wear a partisan hat.”

Meeks pulled in 66.5 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary and Jennings came in second with 13.2 percent. Jennings ran unopposed in the Republican primary and said he believed his fiscally conservative track record in the Council is what appealed to the GOP.

“I voted on very conservative issues in the Council,” he said. “I’m a fiscal conservative, have always been.”

In 2002, Jennings was one of six Council members — and one of two Democrats — to oppose a property tax increase.

Jennings, whose professional background is a mortgage banker, said he thought the property tax increase was a bad idea then, and any tax would be a bad idea now.

“I don’t believe that in this time of financial crisis that we’re having now we should be raising taxes on anyone, period,” he said.

Jennings said if elected his first course of action would be to introduce a bill providing troubled homeowners with a one time, life-saver modification clause allowing them to modify their loan on their primary residence with their current bank without having to go through a credit check or an income check.

“If you’re already in your house for the last 10 years and you’re paying your mortgage, why not? I think it’s a smart thing to do and a fair thing to do,” he said.

To address the national deficit, Jennings said he would begin with a 5 percent, across-the-board cut to every federal spending program and then take a more nuanced look at waste in individual programs.

One program he did support is the Farm Bill and its subsidization of corn, but not for fuel.

“I would totally disagree on using corn for fuel. It’s a very, very bad policy and it should be ceased,” he said.

Jennings said he believes the costs of subsidizing corn did not justify its benefits, and he would prefer to offer rebates for homeowners to install solar panels and tax credits for companies that build electric vehicles.

On stop-and-frisk, Jennings said he was opposed to any police practice based on racial profiling, adding that “at the same time, over the last five months my thinking has evolved because of the crime in New York City that has evolved since the primary.”

Jennings said he would oppose legislation, such as a failed amendment introduced by a New Jersey congressman in May, which would defund law enforcement organizations that engage in racial profiling.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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