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Editorial

We’ll say it again: It’s time to fix the SALT cap

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U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat from Glen Cove, has campaigned relentlessly to eliminate the $10,000 cap on deductions of state and local taxes imposed by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which President Trump shepherded through Congress. That single act has cost many Long Islanders thousands of dollars.

Now Suozzi is finally getting an assist from a powerful ally in the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. It’s about time. Thank you, Senator Schumer, for advocating for the elimination of this provision.

Most Long Islanders are hurting because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many have lost their jobs: At the height of the crisis in April, Nassau County’s unemployment rate climbed to nearly 16 percent, before declining slightly. The loss of thousands of dollars in federal tax deductions has dealt a severe blow to too many families at a time when they are feeling most desperate. It’s time that Congress and the president recognize — and repair — the damage they have done to those families, and to Long Island’s economy.

In its most recent coronavirus package, the House called for the elimination of the SALT deduction cap. The Senate should follow suit. If passed by Congress and signed by the president, such a measure would put thousands of dollars back into many Long Islanders’ pockets. That would mean real and lasting relief.

New York, and Long Island in particular, deserves better than the tax plan hastily prepared by the president in 2017. According to Suozzi:

• New Yorkers already subsidize other states by paying $36 billion to $45 billion more in taxes than we get back from the federal government. Other states, like Kentucky, home to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are the beneficiaries of this largesse.

• Limiting the SALT deduction to $10,000 results in double taxation by imposing federal taxes on the income used to pay state and local taxes.

• Limiting the deduction drives wealthier people to other states and leaves middle- and lower-income taxpayers to pay for school, police, and other essential state and local tax burdens.

Passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has led to an uneven, unfair taxation system that treats states like New York as cash cows. Now, not later, is the time for a fix.