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Long IslandPolitics

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo launches ‘tax fairness campaign’

In New Hyde Park, the Democratic governor urged repeal of the federal tax overhaul signed by Republican President Donald Trump.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Lake Success, outlined his vision for New York State's budget, including a tax cut for the middle class. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo launched a “tax fairness campaign” Thursday encouraging residents to urge federal lawmakers to repeal a provision in the new federal tax law that caps state and local deductions at $10,000.

In a speech at Teamster Local 282 headquarters in Lake Success, Cuomo characterized the legislation, signed into law late last year by President Donald Trump, as politically motivated.

Cuomo said the changes target 12 states with high property taxes where a majority of residents supported Democrat Hillary Clinton for President.

“This is a transfer of wealth from one area of the country to another,” Cuomo told a crowd of seniors and labor leaders. “It’s not fair. That’s exactly what this is. You’re taking from the Democratic states and you’re giving it to the Republican states. And that’s politics on a level this nation has never played before.”

The tax law provides tax breaks for corporations and most middle-class families, but limits deductibility of state and local income and property taxes to $10,000 on federal tax returns.

The elimination of the full “SALT” deduction will cost state residents $14.3 billion, according to a report by the State Department of Tax and Finance.

On Long Island, where residents pay among the highest property taxes in the nation, about 530,000 homeowners, or 36 percent of all tax filers in Nassau and Suffolk, would be affected.

“It hits New York harder than any state in the country,” Cuomo said.

To mitigate the effects of the tax law, Cuomo is calling on the State Legislature to eliminate the state income tax on wages and substitute an equivalent tax on employers. The federal legislation does not cap employer deductions.

Cuomo also wants to allow county and other local governments to set up nonprofit charitable funds where homeowners can reroute their property tax payments. Residents would then receive a tax credit for the amount of their donations that they could deduct on their federal tax returns.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) said the tax code changes represent “a real threat posed to our Long Island. We owe it to our entire state to have the tenacity to help [Cuomo] with this fight.”

Cuomo on Thursday announced that Maryland had joined New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in suing the federal government over the tax overhaul.

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