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5 Feb, 2019 21:46

As New Yorkers flee the state’s high taxes, governor blames Trump

As New Yorkers flee the state’s high taxes, governor blames Trump

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has blamed President Donald Trump’s tax reforms for driving residents away to low-tax states, accusing Trump of waging “economic civil war” against high-tax states run by Democrats.

Signed by Trump in 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes a provision that put a $10,000 limit on SALT (State and Local Tax) deductions. No limit existed previously, and supporters of the provision saw it as a way of ending an unfair federal subsidy to high-tax states like New York.

For example, a New Yorker who paid $20,000 in property taxes and $30,000 in income taxes in 2016 could deduct the entire $50,000 from their federal tax return that year. Since 2018, the same resident could only deduct $10,000 from that bill. The cap was put into place to offset the loss of federal revenue by other income tax cuts.

Cuomo blamed the Act for driving taxpayers away from New York, which levies higher state taxes on its citizens than any other state in the US. According to the governor, personal income tax receipts in the state are expected to drop $2.3 billion below previous estimates in December and January.

"SALT encourages high-income New Yorkers to move to other states and if even a small number of high-income taxpayers leave the state, it would harm state revenues and impact critical funding for education, health care, infrastructure and the middle-class tax cuts," he said on Monday.

Shockingly, people don’t like paying taxes through the nose. Especially in New York, where their dollars are swallowed by an antiquated subway system that never seems to get fixed, and their governor hands out billion-dollar tax breaks to woo megacorporations like Amazon to Long Island.

Meanwhile, high-income residents have upped sticks and left New York in droves. Although it has long been the final destination of retirees and northern “snowbirds,” Florida has seen a recent influx of tax exiles from New York, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Sunshine State had the highest level of domestic in-migration from July 2017 to July 2018, while New York was the largest overall population loser.

“I’ve been starting to see New Yorkers as Florida’s new foreign buyer,” real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller told the Wall Street Journal. “If they were already on the fence, I think the tax law has changed the calculus for some.”

In case New Yorkers are unmoved by Cuomo’s defense of his “progressive tax policies,” lawmakers from the Empire State are already hard at work to repeal the SALT deductions cap. Representatives Nita Lowey (D) and Pete King (R) introduced a bill in the House earlier this month to restore the full deduction. Lawmakers from high tax-states like California, New Jersey, and Illinois will likely support the bill. It is unclear if it actually has a chance of passing in the Senate, or surviving Trump’s veto, however.

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