Two-thirds of New Jersey adults said they want the Biden administration to scrap a $10,000 federal cap on tax breaks they can claim for their state and local taxes, according to a July 12 poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
The $10,000 cap on state and local property tax deductions – or the SALT deduction – was passed as part of the 2017 federal tax breaks signed by then-President Donald Trump, a Republican. It places a $10,000 limit that homeowners can claim in state and local taxes when filing their income taxes each year.
And it’s been blasted by representatives from higher tax, typically Democratic, states like New Jersey and neighboring New York, where the annual property tax bill could be more than double the federal cap.
FDU found in its poll that 63% of adults felt the full property tax deduction should be restored, including 64% of Republicans, 63% of Democrats and 60% of independents.
Roughly a quarter of respondents – 26% – hadn’t heard of the cap at all, according to the FDU poll, which relied on the responses of 803 New Jersey voters interviewed via phone between June 9 and 16. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.46 percentage points.
“In a rare instance of bipartisanship, equal proportions of Democrats and Republicans say the SALT cap should be removed,” the FDU press release states.
House Democrats have tried since 2018 to have the cap lifted, but those efforts were blocked in the previously Republican-led U.S. Senate.
“Like so many of President Trump’s efforts, capping SALT deductions was based on politics, not logic or good government,” reads an early April letter to President Joe Biden from Gov. Phil Murphy and six other Democratic governors. “This assault disproportionately targeted Democratic-run states, increasing taxes on hardworking families.”
New Jersey is largely seen as one of the costliest places in the nation to live, along with neighbors New York and Connecticut. The cost of living has driven intense political debate about whether more people were moving into New Jersey or fleeing the state en masse.
“[S]upport for restoring the deduction is pretty close to universal,” said Dan Cassino, a political science professor at FDU, who led the poll.
And the support is despite the vast swathes of New Jersey voters – “renters, people with mortgages, anyone who doesn’t itemize their deductions” – that “may not even notice the difference,” Cassino added.
“For all the coverage that the SALT cap has gotten in the press, it doesn’t directly impact everyone,” said Cassino. “Renters, people with mortgages, anyone who doesn’t itemize their deductions, they may not even notice the difference.”
Willingness beyond the New York and New Jersey congressional delegations to lift the SALT cap is more uncertain in Washington, D.C.
None of Biden’s massive stimulus plans this spring included a provision to lift the cap, and progressive stalwarts such as New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – a Democrat from the Bronx – have decried the repeal as “a giveaway to the rich.”