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Boro’s U.S. reps voted against small biz: Study

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All of Queens eight representatives were ranked at the bottom of the Small Business Survival Committee’s findings on how members of Congress voted on issues favorable to small business last year.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit small business advocacy group chose 12 House of Representative votes in 2001 on what it considered the most important issues affecting small businesses to show how each member voted.

The 12 votes the SBSC chose involved such issues as reducing taxes and regulations, death tax elimination, capital gains tax relief, expanding U.S. markets overseas, reducing dependence on foreign energy and making health care more affordable.

In general, said Darrell McKigney, president of the SBSC, the votes fell along party lines. He said more Republicans voted in favor of the 12 bills compared to the Democrats, but “there was a lot of overlap.”

In the Queens delegation U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) were the only legislators to vote yes on the 12 bills in the scorecard. Both voted not to limit access to light trucks and SUVs.

The six other members of the delegation — U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside), U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Fresh Meadows), U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Astoria) U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Long Island City) and U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) voted against all of the 12.

Ackerman explained why he had cast his votes against the issues.

“The Bush tax plan focused on cutting tax rates for those at the top instead of investing in education, Social Security, Medicare and health care for hard working families,” he said. “The Democratic plan would have invested in these as well as allowed us to pay down the national debt, keep interest rates low and ensure a strong national defense.”

Candace Sandy, a spokeswoman for Meeks, said he is strongly behind small businesses and questioned how the SBSC picked the 12 votes.

“Meeks does not support the SBSC’s rating system,” she said.

McKigney said the 12 bills drew more support from Republicans than Democrats, but at the same time there were Democrats who voted in favor of some of the legislation. He said how House members voted depended on the legislation and whether a state’s delegation voted along party lines.

“With small businesses responsible for creating 75 percent of all new jobs, the public needs to know who is standing up for small businesses and who is standing in the way,” McKigney said. “We all have a stake in a strong small business climate.”

In the SBSC’s rankings that measure how a state’s congressional delegates voted, New York was in the lower half of the states that voted for the bills.

New York tied for 41 out of 50 states. Idaho led the states, while Massachusetts was in last place.

“Our elected officials need to remember that small business is the backbone of the U.S. economy,” said Raymond Keating, SBSC’s chief economist. “These enterprises provide the bulk of innovations, goods, services and jobs. Increased tax and regulatory take a big toll on small businesses, their employees and therefore the economy in general.”

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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