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Doheny says new health law is causing high NNY unemployment

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Republican candidate for the 21st Congressional District seat Matthew A. Doheny today issued a news release lamenting the high unemployment rates in the north country and promising action, if he is elected, that will restore “a pro-growth economic climate.”

“The March unemployment report tells a sad story that North Country job recovery is lagging behind the rest of the state and nation,” Mr. Doheny is quoted as saying in the release.“This district deserves a representative in Washington who understands the unique challenges we face...”

The Doheny campaign lays the high unemployment rate at the door of the Affordable Care Act, which it says is “impeding small business job growth.” It also blames the medical device tax as being “particularly onerous” on manufacturers in the district.

The medical device tax is an excise tax of 2.3 percent levied on the manufacturers of durable medical equipment that exempts items that are generally considered sold in a retail environment, such as hearing aids.

The release reiterated Mr. Doheny’s pledge “to never vote to raise taxes,” and said he would fight for a simpler and fairer tax code.

Historically, over the past five years, unemployment rates stubbornly have remained in double digits in the north country. Jefferson County’s rates at this time of year were 10.1 percent in 2009, 10.8 percent in 2010, 11.5 percent in 2011, 11.6 percent in 2012, 11.7 percent in 2013 and 10.7 percent in 2014. In St. Lawrence County, rates were 10.7 percent in 2009, 11.5 percent in 2010, 11.8 percent in 2011, 12 percent in 2012, 10.2 percent in 2013 and 9.2 percent this year.

The highest unemployment rates were at the end of the Bush administration and the first two years of the Obama term, when the nation went through a major recession. The Affordable Care Act was not enacted into law until March 2010, and most elements in the law were phased in in 2013.

Mr. Doheny is seeking the seat being given up by Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh. He will meet fellow Republican Elise M. Stefanik in a June 24 primary.

— PLW

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