BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New York Congressman Chris Collins (R-Clarence) is not too happy with Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-New York).
Collins took to Twitter Friday afternoon after Cuomo accused him of treason for voting for the Republican House budget.
King Andy👑 needs to remember why the country was founded in the first place - to fight high taxes. @NYGovCuomo— Rep. Chris Collins (@RepChrisCollins) October 27, 2017
Only in King Andy’s👑 world is fighting for lower taxes treasonous.— Rep. Chris Collins (@RepChrisCollins) October 27, 2017
Maybe King Andy👑 could dip in to his TV budget to lower taxes on his subjects in NY.— Rep. Chris Collins (@RepChrisCollins) October 27, 2017
A Collins' spokesperson tells 2 On Your Side that Collins' tweets were in response to Cuomo calling Congressmen Collins and Tom Reed the “Benedict Arnolds of their day.”
Cuomo says Reps. Reed and Collins voting for budget deal is “modern day treason” and they are “Benedict Arnolds of their day"— Joseph Spector (@GannettAlbany) October 27, 2017
Out of the nine GOP House members in New York State, Collins and Reed were the only two to vote for the budget.
The narrowly approved budget cleared the way for Congress to move ahead with tax reforms that may include ending taxpayer deductions for state and local taxes (SALT) -- which would be a major hit to highly-taxed states like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
In an interview on Friday, Collins defended his vote and said the GOP plan's doubling of the standard deduction -- from $12,000 to $24,000 for families -- could offset the loss of SALT. He also said he believes most people in his district would choose the standard deduction over the itemized deductions, even though the state comptroller warned that there could be more complications to that.
"This is the nuance that I think's been missed, by many of my fellow Republicans and others," Collins said. "The new standard deduction is $24,000."
Collins also issued the following statement:
“Apparently Andrew Cuomo has forgotten that the American Revolution was fought over high imperial taxes. Unfortunately, Cuomo has become a modern day King George who squanders our money and has never met a tax he didn’t like or hike. It’s time for King Andrew to take a long, hard look this state’s spending and provide real tax relief to the hard working families in Western New York.”
Critics questioned Collins' knowledge of history, arguing he had his facts wrong. So 2 On Your Side reached out to several history professors in Western New York.
"It is misleading to say that the American Revolution was simply fought over 'high taxes,'" said Adam Malka, an assistant professor of history at the University at Buffalo. "To be sure, many of the rebellious colonists reacted negatively to several new taxes passed in the aftermath of the Seven Years War, imposed by Parliament to help defray the cost of the war debt, but most of their arguments had to do with arbitrary taxation imposed by un-elected leaders across the ocean. It was not about high taxes; indeed, it wasn't really about taxes at all. By their own words, American Revolutionaries would happily have paid taxes levied by their own assemblies. So unless the congressman is alleging that the Governor is not an elected official, or that western New York has no representation in Albany, his analogy to King George is just another example of preposterous partisan rhetoric."
Thomas A. Chambers, Ph.D., a professor of history at Niagara University, agreed.
"New Yorkers revolted against King George III because they had no direct voice in agreeing to taxes, not because the taxes were too high," Dr. Chambers said. "'Taxation without representation' was the cry, as colonists had no elected representatives in Parliament, located 3500 miles over an ocean that took six weeks to cross. 21st century New Yorkers elected Andrew Cuomo as Governor and Chris Collins at Congressman, so any taxes enacted at the state or national level have our consent. Colonial New Yorkers didn't vote on the people who imposed taxes, and as 21st century New Yorkers we elect our representatives. Whether or not we like taxes, we voted for them. And if we don't like the taxes, Albany is a few hours drive away and Washington can be reached within a day."
Chris Grant with Collins' re-election campaign responded to 2 On Your Side on Twitter, writing "#fakehistory to go with your #fakenews."
(Includes reporting by Joseph Spector from Gannett Albany)