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Empire state of alarm: NY officials say Trump tax plan hits home

President Donald Trump unveils his tax reform plan

President Donald Trump unveils his tax reform plan in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. Credit: Bloomberg News / Luke Sharrett

Deduction soup

Ronald Reagan wanted to do it in the 1980s — eliminate the federal tax deduction for state and local taxes. But New Yorkers from both parties, including Sens. Alfonse D’Amato and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, beat him back.

Now Donald Trump is going to try. The tax-overhaul plan Trump unveiled Wednesday would scrap the deduction. New York officials are again mobilizing against it. “Double taxation,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called it, echoing the words his father, Mario, used more than 30 years ago.

This time, however, it will be more a blue state vs. red state battle. The blues typically have higher state and local taxes.

“It’s clear people on Long Island would definitely lose under this tax reform,” said Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford).

The president unveiled his proposal in red, more lightly taxed Indiana. He called it a “middle-class miracle” with “historic tax relief.”

For more on the tax plan and reaction, see Newsday’s stories by Emily Ngo and Tom Brune.

Bottom lines blank

Trump’s nine-page blueprint left many questions unanswered, including what it will cost, how it will be paid for and its effect on the national deficit and entitlement programs, Ngo reports.

Democrats said it would hurt everyday Americans to help the rich and cause deficits to balloon. Trump said it wouldn’t be a boon for “the wealthy and well-connected. ... It’s not good for me, believe me.”

The effect on Trump, of course, is impossible to measure because he hasn’t released his tax returns. The tax rate for Americans making $500,000 or more would drop by almost 5 percentage points.

That Price ain’t right

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is in deep trouble with Trump for flying around in privately chartered planes at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“I am not happy about it, and I let him know it,” Trump told reporters. Price’s pricey travels are under investigation by his department’s inspector general and a House committee.

Will Price get fired for it?

“We’ll see,” Trump said.

The take-away: Moore and less

Trump’s grousing that he may have backed the wrong horse in the Alabama Senate race started early — while he was speaking at a rally for Luther Strange. It reportedly got only worse after the race was called Tuesday night, with Strange the loser.

But the president could gain in the long run, Newsday’s Dan Janison writes. There are reasons for Trump and ex-Judge Roy Moore, who won the primary runoff, to make common cause against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the biggest loser.

Keeping up with the Jones Act

Trump was still hesitating Wednesday on heeding calls to waive Jones Act shipping restrictions for aid to Puerto Rico, devastated by Hurricane Maria.

“We have a lot of shippers and a lot of people and a lot of people who work in the shipping industry that don’t want the Jones Act lifted,” Trump said. “And we have a lot of ships out there right now.”

But early Thursday, the president abruptly changed course after a wave of criticism. Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders announced on Twitter he was authorizing the Jones Act waiver. She didn't elaborate on what persuaded Trump. 

The law — banning foreign-flagged ships from shuttling goods between U.S. ports — was waived earlier this month to ease fuel shortages after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma battered Texas and Florida.

In Puerto Rico, the biggest logistical problem isn’t getting the shipments to the ports — it’s transporting them to the rest of the island. But the Jones Act could still hinder recovery and rebuilding by making goods sent by sea more expensive.

Not on Trump’s team

One of Trump’s retweets attacking NFL players who “disrespect” the national anthem featured a photo of retired Marine Staff Sgt. John Jones, who lost his legs in the Iraq War.

Jones wants no part of Trump’s fight.

“I went over there and I fought for the rights and freedoms of everybody to do whatever they wanted to do in a lawful manner,” Jones told TPM.

Trump kept his feud going for a sixth day Wednesday. He said the NFL’s business will “go to hell” if it doesn’t crack down. He added early Thursday on "Fox & Friends" that those who run the NFL are "afraid of their players, if you want to know the truth."

What else is happening

  • Trump deleted a series of tweets in which he touted Alabama’s Strange and overestimated his own political prowess. One on Tuesday boasted that Strange had “been shooting up in the Alabama polls since my endorsement.”
  • Where’s Trump on health care now? All over the place. He talked and tweeted about working with Democrats, getting a Republican bill passed down the road and signing an executive order that would allow health insurance plans to be sold across state lines.
  • Trump has made a U-turn on a key element of his infrastructure plan. He told lawmakers public-private partnerships — which he has long touted as a way to raise the $1 trillion price tag — don’t work well.
  • A 56% majority of Americans believe Trump is not “fit to serve as president,” a Quinnipiac Poll finds. A larger number — 62% — disapprove of how he handles race relations.
  • House Republicans have come up with a plan to provide $10 billion for Trump’s border wall with Mexico. Opposition by Senate Democrats will be a high obstacle.
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller will interview current and former White House staffers in the coming days as part of the Russia investigation, ABC News reported.
  • Jared Kushner’s problems filling out paperwork may predate his omissions on security-clearance forms of meetings with Russians. According to Wired, Trump’s son-in-law is listed as female on his 2009 New York voter registration. The White House had no comment.

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