6th District candidates Meng and Lancman trade jabs over Millionaire’s Tax


| mchan@queenscourier.com |

Two democratic congressional contenders traded jabs with each other after one candidate dubbed himself the sole fighter for the Millionaire’s Tax.

In his mailed literature (pictured below), Assemblymember Rory Lancman — who is vying for the newly-redrawn 6th District seat — said he is “the only one” in the race “who fought for the Millionaire’s Tax in the Assembly so the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share.” Attempts to plant his flag on the measure’s passage angered colleague and opponent Assemblymember Grace Meng, who claims to be the champion for the middle class, according to her camp.

“While Rory Lancman was busy relishing in his self-promotion, Grace Meng was in Albany building bridges with her colleagues and negotiating the agreement that actually delivered real tax relief for struggling, middle-class families in Queens,” said Meng’s spokesperson, Austin Finan.

The Millionaire’s Tax was passed last December after legislative leaders voted in favor of it during a special session held less than a month before the state’s temporary surcharge was set to expire. The measure creates a higher tax bracket for highest-income residents and reduces the tax rate for millions of middle-class residents.

Finan said Meng, a tax equity supporter, not only pushed for the measure, but stood “front and center” at a Millionaire’s Tax rally held at City Hall last year in October. He also said she penned several statements and op-eds in support of it.

But Lancman’s spokesperson, Eric Walker, boasted of Lancman’s efforts, including writing an op-ed last year in the New York Daily News — and a column in the Huffington Post — and taking the same fight to Fox Business Channel and Capital Tonight. Walker said Lancman called for tax fairness back in 2008 — before Meng was even elected.

“Rory was the only one in this race who fought for the millionaire’s tax — that’s a fact,” Walker said. “If Meng was a leader in the fight for tax fairness, it must have been a top-secret operation.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver remained neutral in the standoff, saying “many members were strong advocates in our fight to extend the Millionaire’s Tax, including both Grace Meng and Rory Lancman.”

Meng was recently endorsed by the National Troopers Coalition, the Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers, the New York Chapter of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and the Bangladeshi American Community Council, while Lancman received boosts from The Jewish Press and former Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, another candidate in the four-way Democratic primary, gained the support of Communication Workers of America Local 1101.

Meanwhile, the only citizen candidate in the primary race, Dr. Robert Mittman — a Bayside allergist — recently unveiled his own “Social Security Rescue Plan” and pledged to close the “Medicare doughnut hole” with federal budget savings. He proposed cutting military spending by at least 30 percent, fully eliminating the cap on taxable earnings and said millionaires and billionaires should pay their fair share of earnings to the Social Security Fund.