PARSIPPANY _ “New Jersey is overtaxed. We pay too much in taxes.”
If you think those are the words of a Republican politician on the stump, you’re only half right.
Those are the words of a politician to be sure, but he isn’t a Republican.
He’s Democratic Sen. Cory Booker speaking Monday outside a township home in support of congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill.
Reversing standard political roles, Booker was griping about state residents being overtaxed. The senator’s jumping off point was the recently-passed federal tax bill that he said will end up raising taxes on many families in the district and in New Jersey.
The key provision is limiting the deduction for state and local taxes to $10,000. Many in the district pay more than $10,000 in property taxes alone.
Booker was backed by five Democratic mayors, each of whom talked about the negative impact of the Trump tax plan.
Parsippany Mayor Michael Soriano said a third of the homeowners in his town pay more than $10,000 in property taxes. That figure was 53 percent in Woodland Park and 56 percent in Madison, according to respective mayors Keith Kazmark and Robert Conley.
This phenomena arose when GOP lawmakers in Congress capped what had been the ability of taxpayers to deduct all their state and local taxes when paying federal taxes. The provision means little in many parts of the country where property taxes are relatively low. But it impacts high-tax and high-income states like California, New York and New Jersey.
As Booker noted, the current representative in the 11th District, the retiring Republican Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, opposed the federal tax plan, as did all GOP House members from the state save for one, Thomas MacArthur in District 3.
Booker added that on this issue, the public deserves a House member who will vote like Frelinghuysen did.
That seemed like a peculiar thing for Booker to say, but if nothing else, it demonstrates how good an issue this seemingly is for Democrats. Booker admitted the obvious. The best way to get rid of the cap is for Democrats to gain control of Congress.
Nonetheless, Republican Jay Webber seems in no mood to concede anything.
During the primary campaign – Webber had to beat out four others – the GOP candidate said he would support either doing away with the $10,000 cap or increasing it. That approach became problematic a week or so ago when GOP leaders in the House said they would support making the cap permanent.
Webber responded to Monday’s event with a statement that said, “The average family of four in NJ-11 saves over $6,000 as a result of the recent federal tax reform. That is simply a fact.” Previously, the Webber campaign said the tax cuts have helped fuel a strong economy.
Documentation for the $6,000 estimate comes from a chart published last December by the House Ways and Means Committee. The data broke down how reducing tax rates, increasing the standard deduction and increasing child credits, which are all part of the federal tax reform bill, would benefit average families in each congressional district.
But it’s unclear if that estimate took into account the impact of limiting the deduction for state and local taxes. A committee spokesperson has not been available to discuss the matter. Sherrill for her part said Monday that Webber’s estimate has not been documented by any objective analysis.
Webber’s statement continued, “We know Mikie is infatuated with the radical budget-bashing ‘Medicare for all’ idea, so maybe that explains her refusal to embrace the tax cuts.”
Webber also moved on to condemn Sherrill for standing with Booker, suggesting that the senator is anti-Israel and that Sherrill should “denounce his radical associations and wash her hands of him.”
It’s a little hard to figure out where Webber is going here. This is – or was – a discussion on federal tax reform.
As we said, by any measure this certainly seems like a good issue for the Democrats, so you can expect Sherrill to keep raising it.