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Rep. Tenney Highlights Tax Reform at Suit-Kote; Declines to Clarify Controversial Comments

Scott Willis

Republican Congressmember Claudia Tenney stopped by a Cortland-based paving company Thursday to highlight how the business and its workers will benefit from the federal tax reform law. The family-owned Suit-Kote Corporation has a payroll of $37 million for its 800 employees. President Frank Suits, Jr. says his personal taxes went up, but says the lower corporate tax rate is better for his company. 

The company now has an incentive to invest in equipment, to invest in our facilities, to grow the business, and, most importantly, Suit-Kote has the opportunity to invest in the people of the company.”

Suits says the company’s tax savings will translate to a five percent raise for his employees, and increased contributions to their 401(k) retirement funds from the company.  Congressmember Tenney says the raises will combine with lower tax rates for middle and lower income tax payers to put more money in their pockets.

I think a lot of people are surprised that the negative, really false media accounts of what’s happening on tax reform have been perpetuated, and now people are actually opening up their paychecks and seeing that they’re actually getting a tax cut,” Tenney said. “That’s why it’s so important for us to highlight that businesses like Suit-Kote that are so vital to our communities are actually going to grow jobs, reinvest in New York.

Tenney cited other examples, including NBT Bank, which she says increased its base wage from $11 to $15 per hour. But Thursday's visit was partially overshadowed by remarks Tenney made on a New York City radio show the previous evening about gun violence. “So many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats,” Tenney said.

Tenney claims the quote has been taken out of context, and urged people to listen to the entire conversation. But she otherwise refused to clarify her remarks when pressed by the media.

Believe me, I would love to talk about it, and I will – let’s get the news cycle going so Suit-Kote can get the credit and these employees can get the credit for what they’ve done,” Tenney said. 

When asked if she regretted what the said yesterday, Tenney replied, “Not at all.”

Tenney released a statement after the remarks went public:

"I am fed up with the media and liberals attempting to politicize tragedies and demonize law-abiding gun owners and conservative Americans every time there is a horrible tragedy. While we know the perpetrators of these atrocities have a wide variety of political views, my comments are in response to a question about the failure to prosecute illegal gun crime. I will continue to stand up for law-abiding citizens who are smeared by anti-gun liberal elitists."