Zeldin AWOL on SALT Relief | Perry Gershon for Congress
Home | Menu | Sign Up | Donate
Click here for the latest information on CoronavirusREAD MORE

Zeldin AWOL on SALT Relief

Zeldin AWOL on SALT Relief

From The Village Beacon Record.

Headline: Your Turn: Zeldin Runs for Cover on SALT Relief

Last week, Representative Lee Zeldin, who is supposed to be listening to the working people of Long Island and putting our interests first, once again failed to live up to this duty.

We all know the stories of bright young people moving elsewhere after college or military service because they can’t afford to come back home, or because they can’t afford to stay here after attending our fantastic colleges and universities. As I travel our district and talk to residents, again and again I hear that the cost of living on Long Island makes it difficult to make ends meet. I have also heard disheartening stories from retired people who raised their families on Long Island and cannot afford to remain in their homes because costs to stay are too high. The top priority of any elected official should be to help these people.

When presented with an opportunity to help, Lee Zeldin failed to do the right thing for these Long Islanders. Last week, he refused to join a bipartisan push to unwind a major tax increase on Long Island homeowners. Until 2017, state and local taxes (SALT) were fully deductible against federal income tax. The SALT deduction was of significant help in making Long Island a more affordable place to live and raise a family by putting hard earned dollars back in our pockets – and its limitation results in double taxation. But in 2017, a Republican Congress, one Lee Zeldin was a loud and proud member of, imposed a limit on the SALT deduction as part of a plan to reduce taxes for the wealthiest Americans. Zeldin first voted in favor of the plan, and then kept quiet as the president and the Republicans put it into place, making his final vote irrelevant.

In NY-1, the average SALT deduction before the 2017 law was $18,000. Under the new law, the SALT deduction is capped at $10,000/year, which means the average person in NY-1 is now required to pay federal taxes on $8,000 more of their income. For most of those affected, the itemized deduction including SALT, charitable expenses and mortgage interest is higher than the new standard deduction.

New York is a “donor state” to the federal government, meaning we pay more dollars to the federal government than we receive back, so what amounts to an additional tax on the states already paying more than their fair share is grossly unfair. The GOP tax bill effectively doubled the burden of state and local taxes on every day Long Islanders. In effect, millionaires in states with low SALT are being subsidized by middle income taxpayers in high SALT states. The SALT cap is basically a regional redistribution of wealth. For a New York Member of Congress like Lee Zeldin to support this is indefensible.

Last week, Congressman Tom Suozzi, joined by 52 co-sponsors including Republican Congressman Peter King and several other New York Representatives, introduced a bipartisan bill to eliminate the SALT cap, bringing needed tax relief to Long Island families. The plan is funded by a restoration of a slightly higher tax rate for top-earners, which Zeldin and Trump worked so hard to lower in 2017. The bottom line is the Suozzi bill would reduce overall taxes for most middle-class Long Island residents. But where was Lee Zeldin? He refused to co-sponsor the bill, complaining that it would eliminate the 2.6% rate reduction previously granted to people in the highest tax bracket . Yes, you read that right: Lee Zeldin is more interested in protecting millionaires nationwide than NY-1’s middle class.

In the 2018 midterm elections, the two New York Republicans who joined Zeldin in the initial vote for the SALT changes, John Faso and Dan Donovan, were not re-elected. One can conclude that voters took notice and demanded their representatives work to unwind the SALT cap, and it makes Zeldin’s failure to co-sponsor the Suozzi bill that much more puzzling. For the sake of Long Island, let’s hope Zeldin meets a similar fate in 2020.

If you look at Zeldin’s other recent votes, you should not be surprised by his failure to stand up for his constituents on SALT. A few weeks ago, Zeldin voted against blocking Russia from readmission to the G-7, a vote where he was in the minority of his own party. He also last week voted against a House bill to reduce prescription drug costs. Whose interest is Zeldin serving? Certainly not middle-class residents of Long Island. We need bipartisan leadership in Congress. Representative Lee Zeldin is not providing it. He is failing us.

Posted on December 19, 2019.

For 25 years, I have been a common-sense businessman — not a career politician — so I look at things differently. I know about fixing dysfunction. It starts with hard work, a commitment to results, and perseverance — not scoring cheap political points. We can work together to provide opportunity and create an economy that works for all of us.

Learn More About

Perry Gershon

Meet Perry

Show your support:
Endorse Perry Gershon
for Congress