A Thought on SALT Deductions

New York Republican Congressman John Tamny had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal early last week in which he advocated enthusiastically for raising the ceiling on the deduction of State and Local Taxes from Federal income taxes. That deduction currently is capped at $10,000, and Tamny worries that that works a hardship on his constituents, since despite their high incomes, those folks aren’t really all that rich. New York’s high taxes and prices already work to reduce those folks’ relative wealth.

A WSJ reader responded in WSJ‘s Sunday Letters section.

The five New York Republicans in Congress take a page from the Democratic playbook to defend changing the SALT cap (Letters, Aug. 15), “especially since New York continues to be a donor state, paying more in federal taxes than it receives from Washington.”
When did that become the objective? They make it sound like the role of the federal government is to redistribute all funds in a fair and equitable manner. Sorry guys, we send our tax dollars to Washington to pay for essential services like national defense, not to have it parceled out again to the states in equal portions.

It’s true enough that Tamny and his fellow New York Republican Congressmen (all Congressmen, come to that) have to represent his—their—constituents first, and even as Federal Congressmen, our nation second. But as Federal Congressmen, they do have to represent all of us at some stage.

That tension makes the Congressional Tamnys’ collective and individual jobs hard, but if they wanted cushy jobs, they should have taken positions as mattress demonstrators.

That’s not all. Another Letter writer disagreed with Tamny in a different direction.

The New York lawmakers’ argument bears considerable similarities to Mayor Eric Adams’s demands for federal assistance to take care of the illegal immigrants his city invited. Talk about moral hazard. Both amount to pleas from politicians for federal relief from the consequences of their own state or local governments’ policies and, as such, should be summarily denied.

What the letter writers said is spot on, and their words carry national, and moral, weight.

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