Kinowski takes part in federal tax talks

Michael Kinowski speaks during the first Fulton County Board of Supervisors meeting in Johnstown on Jan. 3. (The Leader-Herald file photo)

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mike Kinowski was part of a federal discussion about tax reform Thursday before the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs in Washington D.C.

Kinowski told the Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday he would be speaking before federal officials this week in the nation’s capital. He said he was going to speak on “tax structure.”

The Republican Johnstown 2nd Ward supervisor was one of several New York state residents and officials invited to speak Thursday at the Eisenhower Building at the White House complex.

Congress is currently debating tax reform to send a bill to President Donald Trump’s desk by Christmas.

Fulton County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said Kinowski was part of a discussion on “state and local tax reform and economic competitiveness.”

“He was invited by the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs,” Stead said. “They elected officials from across the state and Fulton County was one of them.”

Kinowski paid for the trip himself.

The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs is a part of the Executive Office of the president and serves as the primary liaison between the White House and state, county, local, and tribal governments.

Returning Friday, Kinowski said the discussion before the White House group was attended by Vice President Mike Pence. He said a cross-section of people across the national – from Georgia to Alaska – were allowed to attend and be involved in a question and answer session.

Kinowski said the executive branch officials were led by presenter/U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Also speaking was U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon. Kinowski said federal officials said the proposed tax reform going through Congress doesn’t favor one state over another.

“Their answer was that this is a federal bill,” Kinowski said.

Asked whether White House officials feel a final tax reform bill can be crafted, he stated: “All of them appear to be optimistic.”

The current legislation is a federal bill to cut taxes on businesses and individuals, a Republican effort to overhaul the American tax system. It would permanently chop the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent and make other tweaks aiming to make businesses more competitive. It would reduce individual tax brackets to four from seven and make changes to several tax breaks. Among them, the bill would limit state and local deductions and the mortgage interest deduction, eliminate the personal exemption and nearly double the standard deduction.

Kinowski, an area insurance agent, is the owner of the Kinowski Agency Inc. on North Perry Street. He is serving 2017 as chairman of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors.

He is due to give a report to the board on his trip to Washington D.C. by year’s end, he said.

“We’ll see what the details are when Mike comes back with a debrief,” Stead said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Patricia Older

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