American Action Network: “3 Wishes”

In an ad urging voters to “make Kathy Hochul go away” on November 6, the American Action Network attacks the first-term Democrat from New York, claiming she voted to raise taxes “almost 50 percent” and increase spending “even more.” But the ad’s citations make clear that it’s referring to Hochul’s time on the Hamburg, New York town board, and the increases in question occurred over the course of 13 years. In fact, when the town budget is adjusted for inflation, spending actually increased a mere 8.5 percent during Hochul’s service. The ad also claims Hochul “voted for the job-killing health care law” and to increase small business taxes. But Hochul wasn’t in Congress when the health care law passed, and she voted to preserve tax cuts on the middle class while ending them for top earners, few of whom are true small businesses.

Claims About Higher Taxes And Spending Refer To Changes Made Over 13-Year Span

Hochul Served On The Hamburg Town Board From 1994 – 2007. According to a Buffalo News article from January 4, 1994, “The Hamburg Town Board Monday night appointed Kathleen Courtney Hochul to fill a board seat left vacant by Patrick H. Hoak’s election as supervisor.” A Buffalo News article from April 11, 2007, reports that “New Erie County Clerk Kathleen Hochul submitted her resignation as a Hamburg Town Board member Tuesday.” [Buffalo News via Nexis, 1/4/94; Buffalo News via Nexis, 4/11/07]

Property Taxes In Hamburg Went From $6.37 To $9.22 Per Square Foot Over 13 Years. From the Buffalo News article American Action Network cites to support its claim that Hochul “voted to raise taxes almost 50 percent.”:During her 13 years on the Town Board, Hochul voted to raise taxes 11 times, just as the ad says. And when you compare the tax rate when she took office — $6.37 per $1,000 of assessed valuation — and the rate when she left — $9.22 per $1,000 of assessed valuation — those increases amount to a 45 percent overall increase in the tax rate, or an average of 3.4 percent a year. [Buffalo News via Nexis, 4/10/11]

Hamburg Town Budget Increased From $28.4 Million To $43 Million Over 13 Years. American Action Network cites two articles from the Buffalo News to support the claim that Hochul “voted to increase spending even more.” The first, from October 25, 1993, reports, “The Hamburg Town Board has completed work on a $ 28.4 million budget.” The second, from November 7, 2006, reports, “The Hamburg Town Board adopted a $43 million alternative budget Monday night.” [Buffalo News via Nexis, 10/25/93; Buffalo News via Nexis, 11/7/06]

Adjusted For Inflation, Hamburg Town Budget Increased Just 8.5 Percent During Hochul’s 13-Year Tenure. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI inflation calculator, $28.4 million in 1993 dollars is equivalent to $39.62 million in 2006 dollars. That makes the budget the town board approved in 2006 an increase of just 8.5 percent. [, accessed 10/15/12]

Hochul Did Not ‘Vote For The Affordable Care Act’ – She Wasn’t In Congress

Hochul Took Office In 2011. According to the Washington Post, Kathy Hochul was sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives on June 1, 2011. [, 6/1/11]

The Affordable Care Act Was Signed Into Law In 2010. According to, “On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act.” [, accessed 10/15/12]

AAN Cites Hochul’s Vote Against GOP Repeal Bill. To support its claim that Hochul “voted for the job-killing health care law,” American Action Network cites a vote on July 11, 2012, presumably referring to the House’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Hochul voted “No.” [H.R. 6079, Vote #460, 7/11/12]

Hochul: “Law Must Be Improved” But Full Repeal Would Harm Western New Yorkers. From a Hochul press release: “However, today I voted against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act because House leadership offered no alternative other than to return our country to a broken, unsustainable health care system under the rigid control of the insurance industry.  While I believe the law must be improved to better address the rising cost of care, full repeal, absent of any alternative, would allow insurance companies to deny coverage to 1.1 million individuals in Western New York who live with pre-existing conditions.  It would eliminate preventative care services like immunizations, mammograms, and other cancer screenings for 480,000 people in our region, and it would require 42,000 Western New York seniors to pay on average $655 more out of pocket for their prescriptions drugs each year.” [, 7/11/12]

Repeal Would Have Negative Consequences For Millions

Up To 6.6 Million Young Adults Would Lose Health Care Coverage Through Their Parents’ Plans. From the Los Angeles Times: “President Obama’s healthcare law helped as many as 6.6 million young adults stay on or get on their parents’ health plans in the first year and a half after the law was signed, a new survey indicates. […] Earlier surveys by the federal government found that the number of people ages 19 to 25 without insurance declined after the law was signed, reversing years of erosion in health coverage for young adults.” [Los Angeles Times6/8/12]

70,000 Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions Would Lose Insurance Coverage. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, as of May 31, 2012, 73,333 people were enrolled in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) created by the Affordable Care Act. [, 7/13/12]

5.2 Million People Would Have To Pay More For Prescription Drugs. From the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid: “As a result of the Affordable Care Act, over 5.2 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved over $3.9 billion on prescription drugs since the law was enacted.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also released data today showing that in the first half of 2012, over 1 million people with Medicare saved a total of $687 million on prescription drugs in ‘donut hole’ coverage gap for an average of $629 in savings this year. […] Coverage for both brand name and generic drugs in the gap will continue to increase over time until 2020, when the coverage gap will be closed.” [, 7/25/12]

Over 35 Million Seniors Would Lose Access To Free Preventive Services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] report that 35,106,598 people were enrolled in Medicare Part B in 2011. CMS also reports:

Beginning January 1, 2011, the Affordable Care Act eliminated Part B coinsurance and deductibles for recommended preventive services, including many cancer screenings and key immunizations. The law also added an important new service — an Annual Wellness Visit with a health professional — at no cost to beneficiaries.

According to preliminary numbers, at least 25,720,996 million Americans took advantage of at least one free preventive benefit in Medicare in 2011, including the new Annual Wellness Visit.  This represents 73.3% of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, including 2,404,792 African-American beneficiaries, 537,110 Hispanic beneficiaries, 104,393 American Indian beneficiaries, and 508,398 Asian-American beneficiaries. [, 2/15/12]

GOP Argument That Obamacare Will “Kill Jobs” Has Been Debunked “Job-Killing” Claim Is “Health-Care Hooey.” From “The exaggerated Republican claim that the new health care law ‘kills jobs’ was high on our list of the ‘Whoppers of 2011.’ But the facts haven’t stopped Republicans and their allies from making the ‘job-killing’ claim a major theme of their campaign 2012 TV ads. […]All of this is health-care hooey, aimed at exploiting public concern over continuing high unemployment, with little basis in fact. As we’ve said before (a few times), experts project that the law will cause a small loss of low-wage jobs — and also some gains in better-paid jobs in the health care and insurance industries. It’s also expected that more workers will decide to retire earlier, or work fewer hours, when they no longer need employer-sponsored insurance and can obtain it on their own with help from federal subsidies. But that just means fewer people willing to work — and it will free up jobs for those who want them. If anything, that could reduce the jobless rate.” [, 2/21/12]

  • AP: Republicans Misuse CBO Statistics To Support “Job-Killing” Claim About Health Care Overhaul. From the Associated Press:  “A recent report by House GOP leaders says ‘independent analyses have determined that the health care law will cause significant job losses for the U.S. economy.’ It cites 650,000 lost jobs as Exhibit A, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as the source of the analysis behind that estimate. But the budget office, which referees the costs and consequences of legislation, never produced that number. What CBO actually said is that the impact of the health care law on supply and demand for labor would be small. Most of the lost jobs would come from people who no longer have to work, or can downshift to less demanding employment, because insurance will be available outside the job. ‘The legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount — roughly half a percent— primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply,’ budget office number crunchers said in a report last year.” [Associated Press via USA Today, 1/24/10]

Hochul Voted To End Bush Tax Cuts For The Wealthy – Not “Increase Taxes On Small Business”

To support its claim that Hochul voted to “increase taxes on small business,” AAN cites Roll Call Vote #545 on August 1, 2012.

Hochul Voted To Extend Bush Tax Cuts for Those Earning Under $250,000. According to the New York Times, “The House on Wednesday easily approved a one-year extension of all the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire in January, but in the Senate, presidential politics are complicating efforts to extend a tax credit for wind power. The House votes pitted a straight extension of all the expiring Bush tax cuts against a Democratic plan, passed by the Senate, that would allow taxes on income, capital gains and dividends to rise on earnings over $250,000, increasing revenues by around $100 billion. It was not close. The Democratic plan failed 170-257, with 19 Democrats voting no. The Republican plan passed 256-171, again with 19 Democrats throwing in their support.” Hochul voted for the Democratic plan and against the Republican one. [New York Times, 8/2/12; H.R. 8, Vote #543, 8/1/12; H.R. 8, Vote #545, 8/1/12]

CRS: Allowing Tax Cuts For The Rich To Expire Will Reduce Deficits “Without Stifling The Economic Recovery.” According to Reuters: Letting tax rates for the wealthy rise will not put a short-term damper on the economic recovery, according to a report by the non-partisan research arm of the U.S. Congress. […] Republicans want the cuts continued for all income groups while Democrats favor letting them expire for the most affluent Americans. ‘If the economy is still weak, a temporary extension (of all the rates) will not harm the economy,’ despite adding to the deficit, the CRS report said, citing CRS economist Thomas Hungerford. But allowing the rates to rise just for the wealthy could help ‘reduce budget deficits in the short term without stifling the economic recovery.’” [Reuters, 7/19/12]

Few Top Income Taxpayers Are Actual “Small Businesses”

CBPP: “Only 2.5 Percent Of Small Business Owners Face The Top Two Rates.” According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “Allowing the top two marginal tax rates to return to pre-2001 levels as scheduled next year would affect very few small businesses, a recent Treasury Department study found.  The study shows that only 2.5 percent of small business owners face the top two rates.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/19/12, internal citations removed]

  • Conservatives Rely On Definition Of “Small Business” That Counts President Obama And Mitt Romney. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The claims that allowing the Bush tax cuts for high-income people to expire would seriously harm small businesses rest on an exceedingly broad, and misleading, definition of ‘small business.’ The definition is so broad, in fact, that under it, both President Obama and Governor Romney would count as small business owners — as would 237 of the nation’s 400 wealthiest people.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/19/12, internal citations removed]
  • Conservative Definition Of “Small Businesses” Includes Multi-Billion-Dollar Corporations Like Bechtel And PricewaterhouseCoopers. According to the Center for American Progress: “‘That’s 750,000 small businesses in America, the most productive, the ones that are the most successful, getting hit by a tax increase on top of everything else that’s happened to them in the last 18 months of this administration,’ said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). But McConnell’s number is only accurate if you take an incredibly expansive view of what constitutes a small business. Included in that 750,000 is the Bechtel Corporation, the largest engineering firm in the country. It is the fifth-largest privately owned company in the United States, posting gross revenue in 2008 of $31.4 billion. […] The auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has operations in more than 150 countries, fits the bill as well.” [Center for American Progress, 10/21/10, emphasis added]
  • Former Bush Economist Alan Viard: GOP’s Definition Of Small Businesses Is A “Fallacy.” As reported by the Washington Post: “Which is why Republicans continually define pass-through entities of all sizes as small businesses, a position [former Bush White House economist Alan] Viard called a ‘fallacy.’ ‘How can it be that 3 percent of owners are accounting for 50 percent of small business income? Those firms they’re owning can’t be all that small,’ Viard said. ‘And that’s true. They’re very large.’” [Washington Post, 9/17/10]

Joint Committee On Taxation: “3.5 Percent Of All Taxpayers With Net Positive Business Income” Fall Into Top Tax Bracket. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation: The staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that in 2013 approximately 940,000 taxpayers with net positive business income (3.5 percent of all taxpayers with net positive business income) will have marginal rates of 36 or 39.6 percent under the president’s proposal, and that 53 percent of the approximately $1.3 trillion of aggregate net positive business income will be reported on returns that have a marginal rate of 36 or 39.6 percent. [Joint Committee On Taxation, 6/18/12]

Those In The Top Bracket Still Benefit From Middle-Income Tax Cuts. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

Furthermore, as Figure 2 shows, under the proposal to allow tax cuts on income above $250,000 ($200,000 for single filers) to expire, taxpayers in the top two brackets would still keep sizeable tax cuts on the first $250,000 of their income ($200,000 for single filers).


[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/19/12]

[NARRATOR:] Kathy Hochul had three wishes. With her first wish, she voted to raise taxes almost 50 percent. With her second, she voted to increase spending even more. With her third wish, Hochul voted for the job-killing health care law and to increase taxes on small business. And if Kathy Hochul had one more wish, what should she wish for? She’d wish her voting record would go away. November 6 make Kathy Hochul go away. American Action Network is responsible for the content of this advertising. [American Action Network via, 10/14/12]