Stefanik casts ‘no’ vote as House passes tax bill

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The House passed its tax reform bill Thursday without a supporting vote from U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro.

Ms. Stefanik reiterated her stance Thursday morning before the vote, saying her greatest concern lies with the bill’s elimination of the state and local tax deduction.

“I support comprehensive tax reform that provides tax relief to hardworking north country families,” she said in a statement. “I remain concerned about the elimination of the State and Local Tax Deduction which penalizes taxpayers in high-taxed states like New York. I will be voting no today to stand up for New York taxpayers in my district. This bill highlights the failure of New York state to rein in spending and to reduce the tax burden for all New Yorkers.”

The bill, which cuts $1.4 trillion in taxes over 10 years, simplifies the tax code by eliminating three of seven tax brackets and decreasing the corporate tax rate from 5 percent to 20 percent and in some cases doubles the standard deduction for middle- and upper-class families. But in highly taxed New York state, the SALT deduction provides $68 billion in property, income and other tax relief for state residents, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Taxpayers could still file for a deduction of property taxes under the proposed bill, but that’s capped out at $10,000. Deductions for state and local income taxes and sales taxes would completely disappear.

The House GOP passed the bill 227 in favor and 205 opposed.

Ms. Stefanik was one of five New York Republicans who split from their delegation. The others were U.S. Reps John Faso, R-Kinderhook, Daniel Donovan, R-Staten Island, Lee Zeldin, R-Long Island and Peter King, R-Long Island.

Eliminating the SALT deduction had caused friction among Republicans concerned that it would harm the lives of constituents who rely on the tax relief.

The tax overhaul still faces significant obstacles, as Republicans must align the House legislation with a bill that is working its way through the Senate Finance Committee this week and contains big differences that will have to be bridged.

Republicans are under pressure to get legislation to Trump’s desk by Christmas, especially after failing in their attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act this year, even though their party has full control of government. Lawmakers also want to push the legislation through quickly to avoid giving lobbyists and Democrats time to mobilize.

The Washington Post contributed to this report.

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