Reinstate the SALT Deduction
Long Island faces many unique challenges not experienced in most other parts of the country, such as high local property taxes, unaffordable energy costs and a skyrocketing cost of living. These challenges have chased Long Islanders and opportunities away from our home here on the island. In 2018, the average household income in Suffolk County was roughly $92,000, and while that may seem like a lot of money compared to what people make in other parts of the country, it certainly does not go anywhere near as far locally.
For hardworking Long Islanders, the high cost of living is affecting so many young people’s ability to raise their families here and seniors’ ability to stay in the communities they love. While some Long Islanders have seen more money in their paychecks under tax reform, there are too many middle-income families paying more.
Much of this discrepancy can be credited to the placement of a $10,000 cap on the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction. This cap translates to Long Islanders being able to deduct only $10,000 of state and local income, sales, and property taxes from their federal taxes. In a place like New York, where state and local taxes are skyrocketing, this cap takes its toll on the pockets of everyday hardworking men and women.
Of course, it’s important to remember that the reason our state and local tax deduction was so high was because our state and local taxes were so high. Every level of government has a role to play in reducing our tax burden.
The SALT deduction change though was a geographic redistribution of wealth, taking extra money from places like New York to pay for deeper tax cuts elsewhere. New York is a net contributor that now will be contributing even more. The 2017 tax law chose winners and losers in a way that could have and should have been avoided.
My goal in this tax reform mission has always been to ensure the hard working men and women of Long Island keep more of their paycheck, reduce their cost of living, and are able to save more for retirement, and the fight to improve our tax code so that it is fair for Long Islanders is not over.
I support fully restoring the SALT deduction as part of any additional tax legislation. This Congress, I am continuing the fight by cosponsoring the SALT Fairness Act of 2019 (H.R. 257), introduced by Reps. Peter King and Tom Suozzi, and the SALT Deductibility Act (H.R. 188), introduced by Rep. Nita Lowey, which would repeal the limitation on SALT deductions.
I’m willing to work with anyone on either side of the aisle to secure tax relief for my constituents, and I won’t stop fighting to ensure middle-income Long Islanders are able to keep more of their hard earned money.
Congressman Lee Zeldin represents the First Congressional District of New York in the U.S. House of Representatives.