MOUNTAIN LAKES – Remember SALT?
Surely you do. The federal State and Local Tax deduction was big news four years ago after it was capped at $10,000 as part of a tax reform bill, thereby adversely impacting many New Jersey homeowners. Previously, there had been no cap.
Democrats ran against the then-new, $10,000 cap in 2018 with great success; they flipped four House seats. (That included Jeff VanDrew, who is now a Republican).
Now it’s 2022 and at a fundraiser Monday night, Paul DeGroot was led to observe:
“We don’t have SALT back. Where is it?”
DeGroot, the Republican candidate in CD-11, is right. The SALT deduction is not back.
This may have looked like a big issue in this year’s midterm elections. But events have a way of changing things. Inflation, high gas prices and the overturning of Roe v. Wade now seem to be the issues du jour with November just four months away.
However, as DeGroot noted, Democrats in general and his opponent in particular, Mikie Sherrill, have been unable to restore the full SALT deduction. That is a legitimate campaign point.
In truth, it’s not for lack of trying.
Sherrill, in fact, came up with a “12 Days of SALT ” campaign on the House floor in December, 2019, to stress the unfairness of it all on a daily basis.
Democrats in the House did pass a repeal of the cap, but it went nowhere in what was then a Republican Senate.
More recently, cap repeal was inserted into the massive Build Back Better bill, which passed the House, but stalled in what is now a Democratic-controlled (just barely) Senate.
So at this moment, the status quo remains, which is something DeGroot wants to make sure everyone knows.
The theme of the event at The Mansion banquet hall was unity, which is often needed after a competitive primary. That’s important to DeGroot, who was not endorsed in the primary by the Morris County Republican Committee.
He said not having the party endorsement and running “off the line” made him a better campaigner and thus, a better candidate.
A guest speaker at the event was Bill Spadea of radio station 101.5. Spadea, who often espouses no love for mainstream Republicans, nonetheless, talked about the party slugging it out in primaries, but coming together afterwards.
To prove the point, Tayfun Selen, the Morris-endorsed candidate DeGroot beat, was in the house for the start of the event. The crowd gave Selen a hearty cheer.
Also on hand was Peter Murphy, the chair of the Passaic County Republicans. The district includes part of Wayne, Little Falls, Woodland Park and Totowa, which is where Murphy operates a well-known bar on Union Boulevard appropriately called Murph’s Tavern.
Murphy told the crowd DeGroot has a tough fight on his hands and he had the numbers to back that up. CD-11 now has about 60,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans.
But – and you knew there was a “but” coming – don’t fret. Murphy said DeGroot can still win.
The Passaic chairman offered up some history and his own brand of polling. Murphy said he has no use for pollsters, preferring instead people who are actually on the street – like the guys and gals who deliver the mail. He said mailmen visiting his establishment for a shot and a beer – presumably at the end of their shift – know what’s on the minds of the people. And these days, they tell Murphy Republicans are looking good.
And then there was the history.
Back in 1994, Murphy recalled that Republican Bill Martini won a Passaic County congressional seat, notwithstanding the voter registration numbers.
“It can be done,” Murphy said.