Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11) is the only representative from New Jersey’s 12-member House delegation to vote in favor of a budget resolution that could eliminate the state and local tax deduction, a boon for New Jersey taxpayers seeking to defray their bills.
The resolution passed the House by a vote of 216 to 212 and could save $1.3 trillion over 10 years; GOP lawmakers say they would use the money to pay for President Trump’s promised tax cuts. But critics say the collateral damage would be an unfair spike in taxes in states such as California, New Jersey, New York and Virginia, some of the highest-taxed states in the nation. The state and local tax deduction (SALT) helps residents lower their overall tax bills.
Frelinghuysen — who has a target on his back as Democrats seek to unseat him in 2018 — is the chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
“I am voting for the budget resolution to get my appropriations bills done,” he said in a statement on Thursday. “I will evaluate tax reform when I see the details. My 12 bills are done and through the House. Every member got their vote on them and I’ll get mine on tax reform. The Democrats want to stop the debate on tax reform because they don’t want to lower tax rates for families or for businesses. They want bigger government and more spending.” (Frelinguysen’s appropriations bill includes $900 million for the sorely needed Gateway tunnel to expand rail capacity between New Jersey and New York.)
Only 20 Republicans nationally voted against the resolution, mostly from high-tax states including New Jersey and New York. In April, Gov. Chris Christie said that a loss of SALT deductions could hurt states like New Jersey.
“Certainly, losing deductibility of state and local taxes would hurt states like New Jersey and New York that have high taxes,” Christie said. The governor said that, without offsets in other areas, state residents could be “unduly penalized.”
Here is what the other members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation — all “no” votes — had to say about the plan:
Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1)
Norcross said that the budget resolution unfairly favors the wealthy and corporations.
“The Ryan-McConnell-Trump tax plan is a giveaway to billionaires, and it’s paid for by New Jersey families who will lose their critical state and local tax deduction,” Norcross said in a statement. “Americans must reject this plan that will do nothing to create jobs, raise wages and bring real relief for working families.”
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2)
LoBiondo has regularly departed from Trump, notably on health care. On Thursday, he continued that pattern with a vote against the budget plan. He said that two serious concerns with the plan were the elimination of SALT and potential new limits on 401(k) contributions, as well as other concerns.
Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-3)
Before the resolution went up for a vote, MacArthur strongly expressed the need to come to an agreement on SALT, arguing that cutting the program would devastate New Jersey taxpayers. MacArthur says he is hopeful that a budget deal can be reached.
“Without a deal, tax reform can’t move forward,” said MacArthur, according to a Thursday Bloomberg report.“This isn’t over.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5)
Gottehimer joined with Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7) to announce what they call the “Anti-Moocher Bill” to help states like New Jersey that give more money to the federal government than they keep tax credits.
“New Jersey is one of the top tax paying states in the nation, which is why I’ve been pushing for years to cut taxes for residents and for businesses of all sizes,” said Gottheimer. “And now they want to hit us again by killing the state and local tax deduction – a provision that has been around since 1913. It’s a joke. That’s why Leonard Lance and I have introduced new legislation – the ‘Return on Investment Accountability Act,’ our Anti-Moocher bill – that will address this disparity in federal spending and taxes in the states.”
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6)
On Twitter, Pallone said that he would fight the GOP tax plan, despite its House passage.
Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7)
At the “Anti-Moocher” announcement, Lance called for “basic fairness” regarding taxes and called on other Republicans to join him in calling for the continuation of SALT.
“Today, the New Jersey delegation recognized that the elimination of SALT is extremely harmful to our state,” said Lance.”We should not pay taxes on taxes. And that would be what would happen if SALT were eliminated.”
Rep. Albio Sires (R-8)
Sires voiced his disapproval of the budget plan on Twitter.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9)
“My constituents already pay some of the highest property taxes in the country, and I will not sit idly by as Republicans eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes,” Pascrell said in a statement.
On Friday, Pascrell and Gottheimer will hold an event to discuss a bipartisan effort to preserve SALT.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12)
Rep. Chris Smith (R-4) and Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-10) have not spoken publicly about the budget resolution. Both voted against it.