As members of Congress from different parties, we disagree on many issues. However, we both support the kind of tax reform that would create jobs, simplify the tax code and strengthen the middle class. And, there’s no disagreement between us that state and local tax deductions can’t be eliminated from our federal income taxes as the administration has proposed in its tax reform plan.
Regardless of party affiliation, officials in Washington must understand that ending the deductions would be bad for New York, bad for Long Island and bad for all of our constituents. It is unfair, and it amounts to a tax increase for many New York voters.
We expect that Congress will engage in a tough debate about fairness in the tax code, but we also hope some shed party affiliation to focus on issues on which they agree. This process could be a building block to work on those matters that unite us, not those that divide us.
New York is home to some of the highest state and local taxes in the nation. And our state is the largest net donor to the federal government. According to a report from the Rockefeller Institute of Government, a public policy think tank, New York sends $48 billion more to the federal government than it gets back — more than any other state. Much of that $48 billion helps subsidize other states through federal programs.
Also, a study by the research institute of the Long Island Association, the region’s largest business group, finds that scrapping the deductions could cost Long Island taxpayers up to $2.5 billion a year. And an estimate by the state Department of Taxation and Finance concludes that close to 950,000 Long Islanders would be hurt if state and local tax deductions are eliminated.
Our agreement on tax reform goes beyond protecting the state and local tax deduction. We favor corporate tax reform to create jobs in America and to capture corporate profits that companies are keeping offshore. We believe that any tax reform plan must include tax cuts for the struggling middle class. The last time Congress came together to overhaul our tax code was 1986. Since then, the code has become voluminous and, in turn, more difficult for average Americans to comprehend. We must simplify it.
In a still-recovering economy, a single misguided action can lead to a series of problems, including an economic slowdown. Getting rid of the state and local tax deduction would be a punch to the gut for hundreds of thousands of Long Island families, many of whom are still reeling from the economic meltdown that began last decade.
We expect to be pulled and pushed by our respective parties. Unfortunately, that’s the way Washington has operated for far too long. But as your representatives, and regardless of our Democratic and Republican party labels, we will ensure Long Island families keep what they have rightfully earned.
Thomas Suozzi, top left, is a Democrat who represents the 3rd Congressional District, and Peter King is a Republican who represents the 2nd Congressional District.