Editorial: Cut the SALT

July 20, 2020- Savannah, GA- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo answers questions from the media about the benefits of wearing a mask to keep CoVid-19 from spreading during a meeting Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, right, in Savannah, Ga., Monday July 20, 2020 in Savannah, Ga.
(Photos by Stephen B. Morton)

When a person’s blood pressure rises, their doctor is quick to offer many pieces of advice for how to lower it. One of those keys is almost always to cut the salt from one’s diet.

That direction also applies to the state of New York’s finances, which are under tremendous pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo offered the same advice of a cardiologist — “Cut the SALT” — as a remedy toward easing the high pressure on the state economy.
Only he wasn’t talking about high-sodium food. Cuomo spoke of the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT) limits enacted during the former presidential administration which has cost New York taxpayers — and the state government — big.

Passed in 2017, the SALT deduction limits the amount of state and local taxes that someone can deduct on their federal tax return — capping it at $10,000 for single filers or married couples filing jointly. This has proven disastrous not just for the taxpayers, but also for states like New York.
According to the state government, the SALT changes cost New York up to $15.3 billion in new revenue since 2017. That particularly hurts the Empire State, which is now battling a $2 billion budget deficit even with the influx of new federal aid from the American Rescue Plan.

What’s more, as Cuomo and other Democratic leaders across the country have said, the SALT changes were politically unfair to “blue states” of the Union, as it disproportionately affected them in contrast to more rural, Republican “red states.”

The SALT deduction must end, and on Monday, Cuomo put further pressure on the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats to make it happen. That came a day after Queens Congressman Gregory Meeks reportedly said he would only support Biden’s new “American Jobs Plan,” which includes up to $2 trillion in infrastructure programs, if the administration agreed to get rid of SALT.

It’s refreshing to see members of a political party unafraid to speak truth to one of their own in power. We have confidence that President Biden will hear their appeals and do the right thing.
SALT has proven to be an undue burden on the taxpayers of New York, and on the government serving them. It’s time for the federal government to cut the SALT and help rescue our economy.

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