EDITORIAL: Fight double taxation

DO YOU OWN your home? Almost three out of every four occupied homes in the county are occupied by the owners. And if you’re a resident property owner there’s a good chance you deduct your state income tax and local property tax from the amount you pay to the IRS.

This deduction, which avoids the double taxation of paying a federal tax on the money you already paid in state and local taxes, is now in jeopardy. The tax “reform” plan demanded by the president and now moving through Congress would eliminate the state and local tax (SALT) deduction in favor of an increase in the standard tax deduction.

The governor’s budget office estimates that would amount to an increase in federal taxes paid by New Yorkers of somewhere between 20% and 44%. What a thoughtful gesture from Congress.

That will sure help the local economy too.

Congressman John Faso (R-19th), who represents all of Columbia County, says he opposes eliminating the deduction. And this week Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D) called on the entire congressional delegation of New York as well as their colleagues from California and New Jersey to support the SALT deduction.

Let Senators Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (D), and Rep. Faso know you understand the SALT deduction is a measure of the fairness of our tax code, not a loophole or a giveaway. Reassure them that you know it’s not a reform when you shift the tax burden even more in favor of the wealthiest at the expense of the middle class. And remind them that the nation could better judge fake “reforms” like this one if only we knew what effect they’d have on the president’s own tax return.

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