No Surprises In Tax Vote—Or The Response

Republican Party opposition to the recently-passed NAME bill of 2017 was confined to only 12 members of its House of Representatives caucus. Of that number, all but one—Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)—came from either New York, California or New Jersey. Three of the New York votes came from the metropolitan area with Rep. Peter King, Rep. Lee Zeldin and Rep. Daniel Donovan voting in the negative. The two Democrats from Long Island—Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi and Rep. Kathleen Rice—also voted no.

“I voted against tax bill,” King tweeted after the vote. “The $10K SALT cap is not enough for most LIers & will devalue our homes by 10-15 percent. While most of the country will get tax cut, it will be paid for by LIers who will get a tax increase. I will continue the fight to correct & change after it becomes law.”

Responses from both Zeldin and Suozzi came in more formal modes.

“Getting this bill done and getting this bill done right should not have been a binary choice,” said Zeldin. “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. Unfortunately, this bill is not the tax relief they were promised.”

Suozzi’s response was both longer and more partisan.

“This legislation is a disgrace and a ‘punch-in-the-gut’ to middle-class families throughout Long Island and Queens,” Suozzi said in his statement. “My district is home to over 250,000 families that benefit from the state and local tax deduction – the most in the nation. Thanks to this disaster of a bill, which all but cripples this deduction, hardworking New York families will now see their property values plummet and their taxes skyrocket. Despite demonstrable evidence from non-partisan sources showing how middle-class families all over New York will suffer under this plan, House Republicans still jammed this bill through in record time. They are literally raising taxes on New Yorkers to deliver tax breaks to other parts of the country. New York is already the biggest net donor to the federal government. We get $48 billion less than we send in income taxes to the federal government. This bill, which eliminates the state and local tax deduction above $10,000, will only increase that injustice. I came to Congress ready and willing to work in bipartisan fashion to get things done for the American people, and that commitment remains. However, this bill represents every American’s worst nightmare when it comes to hyper-partisanship, back-door deals, and a complete lack of transparency. I will keep fighting for what I know to be right, but not at the expense of the people I represent.”

Rice did not issue a response, but the congresswoman did post a tweet from a fellow Democrat, Judy Chu, one that brought up another highlight of the bill—the repeal of the individual mandate from the Obamacare heath bill. Chu’s tweet quoted from President Trump.

“Obamacare has been repealed…I told people specifically to be quiet…I didn’t want them to talk about it.” President Trump, bragging that he tried to hide an Obamacare repeal in the #GOPTaxScam.

Opposition from King, Zeldin and Suozzi has always centered around the repeal of the deduction from state and local taxes. The final version did not eliminate the repeal entirely. As King noted, it allowed for a $10,000 cap on the deduction of either state and local taxes or property taxes. But that wasn’t enough to sway the votes of this trio.

There will be seven tax brackets under the new bill: 10, 12, 22, 24, 32, 35 and 37 percent. The top rate will fall from 39.6 to 37 percent. The bottom rate remains at 10 percent. The final draft calls for larger tax credits for children and non-child dependents. The Senate bill repealed the individual mandate from the Obamacare health care bill and that repeal was included in the final draft.

The passage of the bill was partisan. The 12 House Republicans were the only ones to break party lines. In the Senate, all 51 Republicans voted “yes,” while all 48 Democrats voted “no.”

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Joe Scotchie
Joe Scotchie is the editor of both The Roslyn News and New Hyde Park Illustrated News. In 2009, he won a New York State Press Association award for a sports feature. Joseph Scotchie’s past publications include biographies of Thomas Wolfe and Richard Weaver and a comprehensive history of the city of Asheville, North Carolina.

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