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New Jersey lawmakers press for SALT cap repeal in next relief package

New Jersey lawmakers press for SALT cap repeal in next relief package
© Greg Nash

New Jersey's House members are urging the Biden administration and congressional leaders to include repeal of the cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction in the next coronavirus relief bill.

"Relief from the unfair and destructive SALT cap offers the precise breed of action our constituents, states, and localities will benefit from immediately," the lawmakers wrote in letters Wednesday to Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenDear Yellen: Saving the planet is not the Fed's job Treasury announces COVID-19 relief oversight office Washington Post reporter explains how taxes in Biden infrastructure plan would affect multinational corporations MORE and to House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden angers Democrats by keeping Trump-era refugee cap Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones calls on Breyer to retire Biden rebuffs Democrats, keeps refugee admissions at 15,000 MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPew poll: 50 percent approve of Democrats in Congress Former state Rep. Vernon Jones launches challenge to Kemp in Georgia Schumer lays groundwork for future filibuster reform MORE (D-N.Y.).

Every House member from New Jersey signed the letters, including the delegation's two Republican members: Reps. Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Biden delivers 100 million shots in 58 days, doses to neighbors The eight Republicans who voted to tighten background checks on guns House approves bills tightening background checks on guns MORE and Jeff Van DrewJeff Van DrewSunday shows preview: Biden administration grapples with border surge; US mourns Atlanta shooting victims Pro-union bill passes House, setting up lobbying battle in Senate Van Drew, after flipping parties, bashes bills he once backed MORE. Rep. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerOn The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to lowest level since lockdowns | Retail sales surge in March | Dow, S&P hit new records Lawmakers launch bipartisan caucus on SALT deduction Five hurdles Democrats face to pass an infrastructure bill MORE (D-N.J.) highlighted the letters at an event in the state Wednesday.

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Former President TrumpDonald TrumpFreedom Caucus member condemns GOP group pushing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's new free speech site to ban certain curse words Secret Facebook groups of special operations officers include racist comments, QAnon posts: report MORE's 2017 tax-cut law created a $10,000 cap on the SALT deduction. Most GOP lawmakers support the cap and have highlighted studies showing that repealing it would primarily benefit high-income households. But politicians in high-tax states such as New Jersey, New York and California have been highly critical of the SALT deduction cap, arguing that it hurts their residents as well as their states' ability to provide robust services to residents.

The New Jersey House members said in their letter that government employment has declined since the pandemic began and that the job losses are concentrated in areas such as education. They also said that many of the states that have been hit hardest by the pandemic are those that send more money to the federal government than they receive.

"Removing the SALT cap would be a textbook method to provide relief to communities ravaged by the pandemic," the lawmakers wrote.

House Democrats last year passed two coronavirus relief bills that included the temporary repeal of the SALT deduction cap, but those bills were not taken up by the Senate. Repeal of the deduction cap was not included in the $1.9 trillion relief package that Biden proposed earlier this month.

During her confirmation hearing last week, Yellen said that before making a decision about the SALT deduction cap, Treasury should study the impact of the cap on state and local governments.