Freshman Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-White Plains) is co-sponsoring a bill that would repeal the $10,000 cap on homeowners’ state and local tax (SALT) deductions, which has been in place since the December 2017 federal tax legislation.
Jones and Rep. Thomas Suozzi of Long Island introduced the SALT Deductibility Act in the House on Thursday, a measure that would restore the full deduction approved by Congress. Joined by local, county and state officials from Westchester and Rockland counties Friday morning in White Plains, Jones said the cap has taken money from thousands of hard-working New Yorkers who have been hurt since the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was enacted, and even more so during the past year.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is sponsoring the bill in the Senate.
“That was money taken directly out of their pockets,” Jones said. “It was and continues to be double taxation, and of course, this is money that won’t be used to pay for housing, health care, food, transportation and child care and so many other things.”
Jones said he hopes to have the legislation approved sometime this year. He is optimistic that it will receive enough Republican votes to pass, but there is also the possibility in the Senate that Schumer opts for reconciliation since the bill is a budgetary item, which would only require a simple majority, rather than 60 votes.
At least one Republican congressman, Rep. Andrew Garbarino of Long Island, has voiced his support for the bill, Jones said.
“In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, it is more important than ever before that we relieve the tax burden for residents of Westchester and Rockland counties,” he said.
Local, county and state officials who accompanied Jones at the county office building on Friday, praised him for making this issue his first piece of legislation. They assailed former President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress for pitting residents of high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut against the rest of the nation.
“We were targeted because we are a blue state, we were targeted because there was some animus and animosity and we know we had to find a way,” said state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers). “We tried to have a workaround, we tried to have deductions in specific categories, in education, whatever, and no matter what we were blocked.”
About 45 percent of households in the congressional district saw their tax bills increase since the $10,000 cap was enacted, Stewart-Cousins said. She estimated that over the past three years, the cap has cost New Yorkers State taxpayers about $30 billion.
County Executive George Latimer called repealing the cap on SALT deductions “the single biggest issue that we face as local governments and taxpayers of this area.”
He called out congressional Republicans, particularly those representing districts in New York State who supported the 2017 tax cuts that was a break to millionaires and corporations. Latimer said it has punished a state like New York that invests heavily in mass transit and education while those extra tax dollars go to other states.
Furthermore, the full deduction had been in place for about 100 years, he said.
“People who say they are the protectors of your wallet are the ones who have their hand deep into your pocket to pull money out of it, and for what purpose?” Latimer said.
Projections from independent analysts have shown that the cap on SALT deductions has led to at least 100,000 New Yorkers leaving the state, according to State Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick (D-Nyack). He said that if the cap was eliminated it would lead to the creation of more than 55,000 jobs, with most of those in the metropolitan area.
“This will make a real positive difference for families in our counties,” Reichlin-Melnick said.
Jones said the cap is the first of several tax equity issues that must be addressed.
“It is something I think everyone should get behind,” Jones said. “Everyone should have a sense of fairness and unfairness and understand quite clearly that the $10,000 cap was meant to punish states like New York for political reasons.”