Mikie Sherrill, who is the Democratic Party candidate in the race for New Jersey’s 11th congressional district, joined with five majors from the district and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) to criticize the impact of the Trump administration’s change in federal tax law on the district. Verona has been part of the 11th congressional district since a gerrymandering in 2012.
Speaking outside a home in Parsippany, Sherrill and the group focused on the impact of the Trump plan’s $10,000 cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction. That is well below what is taken in Verona: In 2015, Verona residents took an average SALT deduction of $24,480. (In the 11th district as a whole, the average SALT deduction is more than $20,000.) When the Trump plan was voted on last December, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a Republican who has represented the 11th Congressional District for more than 20 years, broke with with his party and voted against the measure. He decided in late January not to run for re-election.
“We had bipartisan agreement in northern New Jersey against it,” said Sherrill, who pledged today to restore the SALT deduction if she is elected.
Sherrill and the others at the press conference criticized Jay Webber, the state Assemblyman who represents Verona and is running as the Republican candidate in the 11th, for his support of the Trump tax plan. “The state it targets the most is New Jersey,” said Sen. Booker. “This is not right or left. This is what is in the best interest of New Jersey.”
During his campaign, Webber has asserted that NJ11th residents would save $6,000 under the tax plan. The Republican-controlled House Ways & Means Committee asserted that a four-person household of a married couple with two children and a median household income of $157,716 would save $6,040. Ways & Means also found that a single taxpayer with no children and a median household income of $108,260 would save only $2,782.
However, independent analyses of the plan have concluded that the richest Americans will benefit the most from the plan, and that, given the many complexities of the U.S. tax code, some people could even pay more under the Trump plan than the previous tax structure. The Tax Policy Center, a partnership of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, released a report in March that found that 10.2% of New Jersey households will see their federal income taxes go up under the Republican plan in 2018. (If you want to know the Trump plan’s precise impact on your finances, the financial news site Marketwatch has a detailed calculator that you can use.)
Some of the mayors at today’s event asserted that Webber also favors making the SALT cap permanent, something that does not appear to be true. “Jay has been on record as being against the SALT cap for months now,” said Webber’s campaign manager, Phil Valenziano, by email, “and so of course he’s not in favor of making the cap permanent.”
The SALT deduction seems to be an issue of importance to Veronans. After the Trump tax plan was approved, Verona, like many other New Jersey municipalities, announced that it would allow taxpayers to prepay their 2018 property taxes, so that they could claim them on their 2017 tax returns. Matthew Laracy, Verona’s chief financial officer, collected more than $5.7 million in prepaid property taxes, up from just $321,236 in prepayments in the previous year.