Congressman Chris Smith issued the following statement explaining his vote against the Tax Reform Legislation which passed the House of Represented and U.S. Senate on Tuesday:
Today I voted “no” on H.R. 1 because while I believe that Americans are overtaxed and need relief, this bill would not provide that relief for New Jersey residents; it would, in fact, be detrimental for many of them.
The bill rolls back or even eliminates certain itemized deductions, and almost half—47%—of the taxpayers in my district itemize, claiming an average of $31,981 in deductions. These deductions are used by many New Jersey taxpayers, and thus their modification or elimination is seriously problematic for me.
Foremost among these changes that I opposed was the partial elimination of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction for income, sales, and property taxes, capping this deduction from federal taxes at $10,000. New Jersey has one of the highest rates of tax filers using the SALT deduction, with over four in ten taxpayers (42%) using it; the average SALT deduction in my district is $18,355. Many New Jersey taxpayers, including homeowners who pay some of the highest property tax rates of any state, could see their taxes go up.
New Jersey residents already pay one of the highest tax rates per household to the federal government, but see one of the lowest returns on federal spending of any state. We need tax relief, but we must have relief that is not comparatively unfair to the taxpayers of New Jersey.