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Schumer urges Trump administration to keep tax deduction

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, speaking at a

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, speaking at a news conference at his Manhattan office on Sunday, April 30, 2017, vowed that he will push back against President Donald Trump to preserve the state and local property tax deductions that New York City and Long Island taxpayers depend on. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Sen. Chuck Schumer on Sunday called on President Donald Trump to preserve a pair of tax deductions widely used by Long Island and New York City property owners that would be eliminated under the White House’s recently proposed tax plan.

Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate minority leader, speaking at a news conference in Manhattan, vowed to “wage a strong, strong fight” against the Trump administration’s one-page tax reform plan, saying the proposal provided “massive tax cuts for the very wealthy and crumbs, at best, for everyone else.”

Last Wednesday, the Republican administration unveiled a tax plan that would double the standardized deduction and keep tax breaks for mortgage interest and charitable contributions, but would also eliminate nearly all other itemized deductions, including those for local and state property taxes.

“The worst part of the president’s plan is that he eliminates state and local deductibility,” Schumer said. “Eliminating state and local deductibility is a dagger aimed at the heart of middle-class folks throughout New York State.”

Getting rid of the state and local tax deductions would hurt New York property owners, who already face some of the highest property tax rates in the country, and make the state less competitive in attracting new businesses and residents, Schumer said.

Citing state figures, Schumer said removing the property tax deduction could result in an average $4,300 tax increase for Long Island property owners who file itemized tax returns, and an average $5,500 increase for New York City taxpayers.

Schumer noted that there was bipartisan agreement over preserving the state and local property tax deductions. Last Wednesday, Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said the proposal would be a “direct hit to the Long Island economy,” and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) said it was “imperative that our local residents aren’t subject to double and triple taxation and retain the ability to deduct local taxes and reduce their federal tax bill.”

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) and Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) also have said they oppose getting rid of the property tax deductions.

E.J. McMahon, the head of the Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank, told Newsday last week that the plan would “basically undermine the state’s tax base.”

Schumer said Trump would likely face the same resistance that former President Ronald Reagan did in 1986 when he proposed eliminating the state and local property tax deduction as part of a broad tax reform plan.

“He had to get rid of it because he didn’t have the votes,” Schumer said of Reagan. “Democrats and Republicans banded together to say ‘don’t do it.’ We have the same thing now.”

The White House did not immediately return an email seeking comment, but last Wednesday, when asked about the plan’s possible impact to states, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters, “It’s not the federal government’s job to be subsidizing the states.”

With Yancey Roy

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