Policy

New Jersey’s MacArthur Happy With SALT Compromise

After calculations for NJ-03, congressman okays $10,000 cap

Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., speaks with reporters as he leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tom MacArthur said Friday he’s “thrilled” with the compromise on deductions for state and local property taxes included in the House GOP tax plan.

The New Jersey Republican said he conducted his own analysis late Thursday and found that all but 3,000 of the 151,000 people in his district that benefited from the deduction last year would fit under the $10,000 cap, and most of those 3,000 taxpayers were subject to the alternative minimum tax anyway.

“So the $10,000, where it is, is a huge win not only for every state in the country but even for high-tax states like mine,” MacArthur said. “It’s a huge win. And I am now content with that part of the bill. I’m trying to get it indexed for inflation, which I think is reasonable.”

He said he’s now pushing for three specific changes related to the mortgage interest deduction, which would only apply to the first $500,000 for new mortgages under the GOP tax plan.

MacArthur said the cap should be higher, and he’s proposed a new number to tax writers, but he wouldn’t disclose what it was. He also wanted the cap to be indexed to inflation and for the deduction to apply to second homes, “which is a critical part of the economy of the whole Eastern and Western seaboard,” as well as the Great Lakes region and the Adirondacks, he said.

“I expect that we’ll move it enough that it won’t” be a deal-breaker, MacArthur said of the mortgage interest deduction piece. “I am leaning into this bill ... In my view, it’s time for members of Congress to stop just always being more comfortable with a no, and saying it’s never going to be good enough, and trying to look like a hero and shoot spitballs from the sidelines.”

As for other members from high-tax states, MacArthur said “some do” and “some don’t” share his view, but “if people really look at the numbers, I don’t know how you keep putting a stake in the ground saying it’s never going to be good enough.”

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