Vice president and congressman meet with business owners, lenders to promote and defend Trump plan

BUFFALO — Vice President Mike Pence says the president wants to cut taxes and simplify the filing process.

During a stop Tuesday in Buffalo, part of a visit to Western New York, Pence said under President Trump’s plan the majority of Americans would have more money in the bank. He adds that taxpayers would be able to file their own taxes, on one piece of paper, without having to pay an accountant for help.

The vice president and Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, met with several business owners and financial lenders at the Performance Advantage Company in Lancaster Tuesday afternoon. Collins represents the 27th District, which includes the western half on Ontario County.

A round table of business owners — many of them husbands and wives — told Pence that they need a simpler tax plan that helps them make more money so they can spend it on their family or new employees.

In Lancaster, the vice president laid out President Trump's plan to cut taxes across the board. Under the president's plan, Pence says:

— The nation would go from seven tax brackets to just three.

— The standard exemption would be double, meaning the first $24,000 of income for the average American family would be tax-free.

— The Child Tax Credit would increase.

— And corporate taxes would be cut from 35 percent to 25 percent to help businesses be more competitive and create more jobs.

"This is a great benefit to businesses and it also allows businesses to modernize, continue to move into the newer equipment and lets you be competitive," Pence said. "We are going to pass the largest tax cut in American history and we're going to pass it this year."

The vice president heard from several business owners, such as David Basil, who owns car dealerships in Buffalo.

"The tax plan has got to be simple so that the people working with us have the ability to control their income every week and every month," Basil said.

Rachel and Richard Budd opened Goodrich Coffee and Tea just before the recession in 2008. "You're working 80 hours a week and you have to make every dollar count," Richard Budd said.

Budd reminded the vice president that money is always an issue.

"I pay more to the state and federal government than what I take out of the business," he said. "So I always think of it like — is the federal government waking up at 5 o'clock in the morning doing this, doing that, putting their hand to it?"

While the president and vice president are calling the proposed tax cuts a "middle class miracle," some Democrats say this plan is far from a miracle for the middle class.

"The president wants to give enormous tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, and the most successful companies that do not need it," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. "It will harm the middle class, it will result in middle class taxes going up and it will hurt New Yorkers. So I don't know what he's saying in Buffalo, but it's not good for New Yorkers."

According to Buffalo News reporter Bob McCarthy, while on Air Force 2, Pence made a call to the mother of Officer Craig Lehner — a Buffalo police diver whose body was found Tuesday after having been missing in the Niagara River since a training exercise Friday — to offer his condolences.