PENN YAN—Democratic Congressional Nominee Tracy Mitrano (NY-23) outlined her economic plan for the district today, describing her proposal as comprehensive and organized around five pillars: healthcare, education, infrastructure, the environment and a revised tax plan. Mitrano’s plan is broad in its scope, nuanced in its approach, and fundamentally people-centered; it is a vision to create the conditions that lead businesses to invest and communities to thrive.
“The most important part of any economy is the people who drive it,” Mitrano said. “Even in the age of the internet, in the age of automation, it is people who provide the knowledge, the skills, and the labor that push us forward. So building a dynamic economy requires thinking in terms of people and the resources they require. A healthy, well-educated workforce is the foundation of any strong, well-functioning economy. So is infrastructure—and not just well-maintained sewers, roads and transportation but robust internet connectivity. Finally, an economy can only succeed if its natural resources are properly and sustainably protected, and if its federal tax structure is fair.”
In orienting her economic plan around these fives issues, Mitrano is focusing on making better resources available to people of the 23rd district—resources that she believes are lacking or inaccessible for many in the region.
According to census data from the 2017 American Community Survey, 38,888 people in NY-23 do not have health insurance, including 8,316 who are children under the age of 19. While 90 percent of adults over 25 in the district have a high school diploma or higher, many students struggle to access post-secondary education due to the difficulties of financing that education.
In recent years, students have been forced to take on larger and larger loans—debts that can follow them for decades. A 2016 report from New York State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found that in 2015, the average student loan balance held by New York residents with outstanding student loans was $32,200. High interest rates cause loan obligations to spiral out of control, leaving many stuck in a cycle of debt.
Mitrano’s economic platform aims to strengthen the community in order to make the Southern Tier a robust and attractive place for economic development and private investment. To do this, she sees reform needed on five main fronts:
Healthcare—Mitrano’s platform includes a commitment to expanding access to quality healthcare for all people, including lowering the age of eligibility for Medicare and maintaining a strong commitment to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, commonly known as CHIP. She favors a system in which the federal government is in a position to negotiate on behalf of consumers and as a Congressional representative, she would be a strong advocate for reforming high pharmaceutical drug prices.
Education—A strong proponent of expanding educational opportunities in the region, Mitrano believes that the public schools should always be excellent and start early. She supports universal Pre-K and Head Start programs, and her economic plan calls for for federal support for vocational, trade, and certificate programs. She is firmly committed to making four year, graduate and professional degrees obtainable through interest-free loans.
Infrastructure—Believing the a district’s infrastructure must ensure that it is equipped for the demands of a 21rst-century economy, Mitrano’s main infrastructure priority is guaranteeing robust rural broadband throughout the district. Mitrano believes that the federal government must support these investments, just as it did decades ago with electrification and the telephone in rural areas. Internet access is no longer something used only by computer programmers and millenials, and Mitrano wants all farmers, business owners, professionals, and individuals in the district to be able to rely on it for their various enterprises.
Sustainability—Mitrano believes that for economic growth to be long-term, it must be sustainable, and her platform promotes practices that conserve the natural resources of the Southern Tier, both for this generation and future ones. Mitrano backs federal anti-fracking legislation on the grounds that the method is harmful to both the environment and biological life. She also supports federal-state alignment to address water-quality issues and is an advocate for more funding for clean-up of the West Valley Demonstration Site in Cattaraugus County.
Tax Reform—Highly critical of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which was passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate last year, Mitrano believes that the law’s cap on state and local tax (commonly known as SALT) deductions amount to a “Do Not Enter” sign around the 23rd district. She believes that preventing companies from taking more than $10,000 in SALT deductions will significantly discourage investment in states with high property taxes, such as New York. For that reason, she wishes to see this part of the tax code reversed. Mitrano also believes that the Republican tax law unfairly fails to make tax cuts for middle and working class permanent, privileging wealthier Americans, who received long-term cuts to their taxes under the legislation. In Congress, she would advocate for reform to the tax code that would make it more fair for everyone.
“My economic plan is aimed at investing in our community, at building a strong economy that works for everyone,” Mitrano said.“The economic vision I have for this district will be good for people of all incomes, for farmers and manufacturing, for rural places and town centers. A vote for me, this November, is a vote for this district—for the idea that a truly strong economy is one that works for everyone willing to work for it.”