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Mertz tackles Tonko

Rotterdam Town Board member John Mertz announced his candidacy as a Republican for the 105th Assembly District, which includes part of Schenectady County and all of Montgomery County.

The two-term town councilman is challenging incumbent Paul Tonko.

I am running for State Assembly because our current assemblyman, Paul Tonka, has made poor decisions when it comes to the hard working people of Schenectady and Montgomery counties, Mertz said in a press release. "I can no longer stand by and allow Mr. Tonko to vote consistently with the New York City political bosses and special interests that take our tax dollars."

Mertz said he would focus on reducing the tax burden faced by families and improve the business climate by reducing government regulations.

"Since 1991, Tonko has voted to increase our taxes on 325 separate occasions, for a total of $23.5 billion in tax hikes," Mertz said. "At the same time, his Assembly boss and Democratic Party Chairman Denny Farrell recently stated that tax cuts are not a priority for the Democratic party. Mr. Tonko and his Democratic colleagues need to wake up, they have their priorities all mixed up."

Tonko spokesman Tom Lynch said Mertz's remarks did not surprise him.

"This sounds like the same kind of campaign that Armando Tebano ran 10 years ago," Lynch said. "And, as a Pataki administration appointee, Mr. Mertz should be familiar with the tax shift that plagued property owners in upstate New York for the last decade."

Mertz is an attorney for the Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform.

Tonko's spokesman challenged Mertz to produce a list of the 325 votes that Mertz alleges Tonko made.

"The readers and constituents of Assemblyman Tonko know of his work and dedication for the constituents of the 105th Assembly District," Lynch said.

Efforts to reach Mertz were unsuccessful.

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