The push by North Jersey lawmakers when it comes to getting the state and local tax (SALT) deduction reinstated has the backing of the majority of New Jerseyans.
Almost two-thirds of voters in the Garden State (63%) say that the full property tax deduction should be restored—a figure that includes half of voters who say that the cap hasn’t increased their taxes.
“It would make sense for this to be a partisan issue, as it’s tied to (former President Donald) Trump and to Democratic members of Congress,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of government and politics at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the Executive Director of the poll released July 12. “But if there’s one thing that can transcend partisanship, it’s cold, hard cash.”
Republican Tax Increase
In 2017, the Republican Congress and President Trump capped the amount of state and local taxes that could be claimed as a deduction on federal taxes to $10,000. That means that anyone who was paying more than $10,000 a year in local taxes—a group that mostly includes residents of high tax states like New Jersey—would see a tax increase, though that might have been offset by other changes in the tax law.
“The SALT cap was largely seen as an attack on Democratic states,” said Cassino. “Even though it’s mostly impacting residents of wealthier areas in North Jersey, support for restoring the deduction is pretty close to universal.”
In 2020, the mean homeowner in New Jersey paid about $9,000 in property taxes, though mean taxes in many counties, especially in North Jersey, are above $10,000. Democratic members of Congress in New Jersey have said that restoring the cap is a top priority.
Gottheimer, Sherrill Focus
It has been an issue pushed by North Jersey lawmakers including Rep. Josh Gottheimer, who heads the SALT Cacus in the House that has promised to withhold support for the American Jobs Act if the cap is not repealed, and Rep. Mikie Sherrill, who recently held events in the 11th Congressional District titled “Summer of SALT” to highlight the issue.
Not surprisingly, opposition to the SALT deduction cap is concentrated among voters most likely to own homes: older and more educated people. Sixty-five percent of New Jersey voters with a college degree say that the cap should be lifted, compared with half (51%) of those who never attended college.
Similarly, 73% of voters age 65 and up say that the full deduction should be restored, compared to just 43% of those under 35. This relationship can be observed directly, as well: 81% of respondents who say that the SALT cap has increased their taxes want the deduction restored, along with half of the respondents (48%) who say that their taxes haven’t gone up.
Republicans, Democrats Agreement
“There may be good reasons to support the SALT cap, as it’s a tax increase that mostly falls on wealthier people,” said Cassino. “But there aren’t that many people who see their taxes go up and think it’s a good thing.”
New Jersey Democrats and Republican voters are united on this wanting the full SALT deduction restored. Sixty-three percent of Democrats and 64% of Republicans say that they want the full tax break back, no different from the 60% of Independent voters who say the same.
Even the fact that the change was made under former President Trump does nothing to change these views. According to the polling outfit, half of the respondents were randomly assigned to be asked a form of the question that mentioned Trump’s role in the cap, but their responses were no different from the responses of those that were asked the question without noting Trump.
The bipartisan nature of views on the SALT deduction are likely due to the widespread impact of the cap on New Jersey voters. About a third of voters (35%) say that the cap has increased their taxes, a figure that’s no different among Republicans (36%), Democrats (34%) or Independents (35%).
Twenty eight percent say that it hasn’t increased their taxes, while 30% were unsure if the cap increased their taxes or not. An additional 26% of respondents said they haven’t even heard of the SALT cap.
“For all the coverage that the SALT cap has gotten in the press, it doesn’t directly impact everyone,” said Cassino. “Renters, people with mortgages, anyone who doesn’t itemize their deductions, they may not even notice the difference.”