Frelinghuysen: A Failure of Leadership for New Jersey Taxpayers
A bill that will increase taxes for many – though not the wealthiest District 11 taxpayers – could pass in a matter of days. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen could have lobbied to change the House tax bill’s most harmful provisions. Instead, he was the only N.J. Congressman to remain silent. He voted ‘no’ only after Republican leaders determined they didn’t need his vote.
- The best chance to stop this tax bill was when the House voted on a budget resolution in October. The bill included many of the worst parts of the final version, and yet Rodney was the only N.J. representative to vote for it. This bill passed by an extremely thin margin; if only two more representatives had voted NO, the resolution would have failed.
- He was silent on the provisions that in his words “could do much damage to the business climate in our state, a trend we must never tolerate, let alone encourage. … I simply could not support the legislation due to very negative impacts it would have on so many of my fellow New Jerseyans.” If that’s how he really felt, why was he the only member of the NJ delegation to allow this bill to pass through budget resolution, where he had the power to stop it? And why did we have to wait until after the bill passed to state the obvious?
- The support of Frelinghuysen, chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, was critical to passing the budget resolution and this tax bill.
- Even state Republican leaders Chris Christie and Leonard Lance knew it was a bad budget: “Losing deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT) would hurt states like New Jersey and New York that have high taxes,” Christie said. Lance added after voting AGAINST the budget: “The elimination of SALT is extremely harmful to our state. We should not pay taxes on taxes.”
Ask Rep. Frelinghuysen: Why he refused to fight a bill that in his words “could do much damage to the business climate in our state.”
Why did Rodney vote for the bill? “I am voting for the budget resolution to get my appropriations bills done,” he said. Apparently, Rodney’s own committee work is more important to him than halting a damaging tax increase on his constituents.
- Even after it was clear the bill would eliminate the SALT deduction, Rodney remained silent.
- His response to eliminating the medical expense deduction? Silence. Rodney refused to take a stand.
- When the bill capped the property tax break at $10,000, or punished students for earning tuition breaks, Rodney did nothing, said nothing.
- Unlike other Republicans House members from high-tax states like N.Y., California, and N.J., Frelinghuysen – the allegedly powerful head of the Appropriations Committee – did not try and persuade his colleagues to vote against a bill that he knew would punish N.J. taxpayers.
- How bad was the bill that Frelinghuysen allowed to pass? He waited until after the vote to release a statement, saying that he opposed the tax bill because it “will hurt New Jersey families who already pay some of the highest income and property taxes in the nation!”
Believe it or Not, It May Get Worse for N.J. Taxpayers
Now that the House bill has passed, all eyes are on the Senate, which has its own version. If it passes, it is possible that the House will have a simple up or down vote on the Senate version will little or no debate. Here’s what Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s silence and inaction have brought us:
Ask Rep. Frelinghuysen: to publicly and vigorously urge Senate Republicans to reject a bill that benefits the wealthy and hurts New Jersey.
Senate Republicans want to use the tax bill to gut the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Their version repeals the ACA’s individual mandate to help pay for tax cuts. If healthy people are allowed to opt out, ACA premiums will soar 10% – and force 13 million people to lose health insurance, says the Congressional Budget Office.
- The bill will also automatically trigger cuts of up to $25 billion for Medicare and $90 billion in other social programs to pay for the cuts, due to Congressional rules.
- While the House allowed deductions on the first $10,000 of property taxes, the Senate eliminates it.
- The bill makes tax cuts permanent for big business – but temporary for American families as their cuts will expire as soon as 2023.
- The Tax Policy Center reports that the Senate bill will balloon the deficit by $1.4 trillion over 10 years—even more if the individual cuts are made permanent.
- The Senate bill’s benefits will go mostly to big business. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) admitted that small businesses were being “left behind.”
- While some of the harm will come immediately, others will appear over time. According to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, in 2021 those making between $20,000 and $30,000 could see a 13.3% tax increase, which would grow to 25.4% by 2027. In 2027, anyone making under $75,000 would see a tax hike.
- N.J. taxpayers already pay more per capita in federal income taxes than taxpayers in every other state, according to a report from the State University of New York's Rockefeller Institute of Government.
- N.J. already gets a bad deal from taxes – we send nearly $2,700 more per person to Washington in taxes than we get back in federal spending.
The top 5% of N.J. income earners – those making at least $440,00,000 a year – would receive nearly two-thirds (63%) of the total tax cut benefits going to the state taxpayers by 2027, reports the New Jersey Policy Perspective.
“President Obama’s runaway spending has led to runaway federal debt. … Enough is enough! Rodney understands that we have to stop spending borrowed federal dollars like there is no tomorrow.” From Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s campaign site.