NJ Politics Digest: Gottheimer, Lance Try to Save SALT Deduction

Leonard Lance. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty Images

With congressional Republicans on the cusp of rewriting the federal tax code, two New Jersey members of the House are making a last-ditch effort to save the State and Local Tax deduction.

Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-5) and Leonard Lance (R-7) announced a tax plan that would preserve the SALT deduction, a write-off that makes it more affordable to live in high tax states like New Jersey. The lawmakers will propose their plan to the conference committee that is producing a final version of the GOP tax bill. Legislation that passed the House and Senate would scale back the SALT deduction by removing it for state and local income and sales taxes and capping it at $10,000 for property taxes.

Meanwhile, a law credited with reining in property taxes in New Jersey is likely to expire at the end of the year. The so-called interest arbitration cap on police and firefighter salary hikes sunsets on Dec. 31, but there is still no movement in the Legislature to renew the cap.

Quote of the Day: “Homelessness is down statewide, but it is not a stretch of the imagination to think that those in New York City will take a quick train ride to New Jersey for legal marijuana.” – State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) making an unusual argument against legal weed.

Cap on Police, Fire Salary Increases Likely to Expire This Year
The state currently imposes a 2 percent cap on yearly salary hikes negotiated in arbitration for police and firefighters. The law is due to sunset on Dec. 31, unless it gets renewed, as Gov. Chris Christie is advocating.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Gottheimer, Lance offer joint plan to save deduction for state and local taxes
A bipartisan pair of New Jersey congressmen made a pitch Tuesday to save the federal deduction for state and local taxes, a write-off that helps make the Garden State more affordable and that would be sharply curtailed in the overhaul of the tax code President Donald Trump wants to sign by Christmas.
The Record Read more

N.J. should lift its own limit on your property tax deductions, lawmaker says
New Jersey should lift its own $10,000 limit on how much you can deduct in property taxes as a Republican bill backed by President Donald Trump takes aim at state and local deductions on federal income taxes, a state lawmaker said Monday.
NJ.com Read more

Tax Bill Could Derail Promises Made by New Jersey’s Next Governor
Throughout his 17-month campaign, Philip D. Murphy, the governor-elect of New Jersey and a Democrat, made promise after promise to voters: to fully fund the state’s floundering transportation network, fully fund its underfunded schools and to fully fund the underfunded public pension system, all part of a far-reaching progressive agenda that led to a 14-point victory in last month’s election.
New York Times Read more

‘Fitness’ medal hung from Christie’s portrait drew governor’s wrath
The executive director of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, an anti-corruption agency that could be eliminated under a bill being considered in the New Jersey Legislature, once angered Gov. Chris Christie with a crude prank that appeared to mock the governor’s weight.
Politico Read more

NJ lawmakers use Leadership Money from taxpayers to pay extra for staff
Officially, each of New Jersey’s 120 state legislators gets a $110,000 stipend – $13.2 million total – for staff payrolls. But more taxpayer money is quietly made available to many lawmakers to hire extra people or give raises to existing staffers.
Asbury Park Press Read more

NJ Businesses Bullish But Say $15 Minimum Wage Would Cause Job Cuts, Price Hikes
Even as the business owners are indicating that many workers in New Jersey will see a hike in their pay next year, the state’s business community is also bracing itself for a new push inside the State House to increase New Jersey’s minimum hourly wage rate to $15, a campaign promise from Democratic Gov.-elect Phil Murphy.
NJ Spotlight Read more

House Republicans seek to weaken N.J. gun control after Las Vegas, Texas massacres
House Republicans are bringing up their first gun rights bill for a vote since the deadly Las Vegas massacre: a measure that would compel New Jersey to honor concealed weapons permits for people who got them in their home state.
NJ.com Read more

Codey, Dems gather to endorse Mikie Sherrill in effort to unseat Frelinghuysen
Mikie Sherrill’s campaign to unseat Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-Harding, in 2018 gained some year-end traction Tuesday morning at the Florham Park Diner, where about 50 Democratic leaders in the 11th Congressional District gathered to pledge support.
Daily Record Read more

New Jersey Transit Withholds Data Subpoenaed for Lawmakers’ Safety Probe
New Jersey Transit is suppressing internal documents subpoenaed by state legislators investigating how the once-model commuter system fell into a safety and financial crisis. Eight years of reports by NJ Transit’s auditor general haven’t been provided. Neither have records about delayed installation of life-saving train technology.
Bloomberg Read more

Convicted mobster’s family scores $6M in NJ Transit dispute
The family of a convicted NJ Transit initially offered to pay the family of Carmine “Papa Smurf” Franco about $934,000 for the property, an industrial site that sits in parts of Weehawken, Hoboken and Union City in northern New Jersey, across the river from New York City. But the agency later revised the figure to $1.65 million.
Associated Press Read more

NJ prosecutor’s office used ‘phony’ evidence techniques, investigator says
A longtime investigator and criminal forensics expert continues to cast doubt on the competency of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, which has faced public scrutiny for its handling of several high-profile investigations.
NJ101.5 Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Gottheimer, Lance Try to Save SALT Deduction