SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Republican congressional candidate Ann Marie Buerkle today rebutted attack ads from Democrat incumbent Rep. Dan Maffei that accused Buerkle of being delinquent on property taxes.
"I've spent the past several weeks suffering from the negative ads of my opponent," Buerkle said at a press conference in front of a small shopping center she owns in the Syracuse suburbe of Camillus. "[Maffei] has made these allegations that I am delinquent in my taxes, instead of stating the truth, which is that we have a payment plan for the tenants who are in this plaza."
Buerkle has explained that she has a "triple-net lease agreement with her tenants whereby they are responsible for the property taxes." When her tenants fell behind on their taxes in January 2010, she "was faced with the choice of evicting them or covering their taxes. She contacted the County and worked out a formal signed and notarized payment plan with them. Monthly installment payments are made to the County."
At the press conference, Buerkle introduced one of her tenants - a hairstyling salon owner named Andre - and said his situation exemplifies the economic problems of the 25th District that she hopes to address in Congress. "Andre represents one of those hard-working Americans who takes a risk. He spends days in his salon working hard to be successful. And Andre and all the other small businesses in upstate New York . . . need Washington to get out of the way."
In a brief interview following the press conference, the salon owner praised Buerkle: "Someone with the passion that she has is someone that I want to be in office."
Also at the press conference, Buerkle criticized a poll published Sunday by the Syracuse Post-Standard showing her Democrat opponent with a 12-point lead. "I don't want anyone to let this discourage you," she said. "The voters will pick their congressman on Nov. 2. . . . It's up to the people to choose their congressman, not the Post-Standard and not Dan Maffei."
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