Gottheimer, Lance Announce "Anti-Moocher Bill" to Claw Back Tax Dollars

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Washington, October 26, 2017 | comments
Today, Congressmen Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Leonard Lance (NJ-7) announced the "Anti-Moocher Bill" they are cosponsoring, officially known as the "Return on Investment Accountability Act." The bill would address the disparity in federal spending between states by giving refundable tax credits to eligible recipients whose states get less funding from the federal government than the taxes they pay in aggregate.
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WASHINGTON -- Today, Congressmen Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Leonard Lance (NJ-7) announced the "Anti-Moocher Bill" they are cosponsoring, officially known as the "Return on Investment Accountability Act." The bill would address the disparity in federal spending between states by giving refundable tax credits to eligible recipients whose states get less funding from the federal government than the taxes they pay in aggregate.

"New Jersey is one of the top tax paying states in the nation, which is why I’ve been pushing for years to cut taxes for residents and for businesses of all sizes,"
said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), "And now they want to hit us again by killing the state and local tax deduction – a provision that has been around since 1913. It’s a joke. That’s why Leonard Lance and I have introduced new legislation – the 'Return on Investment Accountability Act,' our Anti-Moocher bill – that will address this disparity in federal spending and taxes in the states."

Continued Congressman Gottheimer, "I'm prepared to support the right tax bill. But it must be the right tax reform. It must be bipartisan, it must cut taxes for New Jersey. It must be pro-business. It must stand up for hard working folks who play by the rules. And it must not favor one state over another, and push people and businesses away from New Jersey. No one can stop New Jersey -- unless you literally tie our hands behind our back and throw us in the Hudson. But eliminating the states and local tax deduction is cement shoes."

"Today, the New Jersey delegation recognized that the elimination of SALT is extremely harmful to our state." said Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-7). "We should not pay taxes on taxes. And that would be what would happen if SALT were eliminated... We need to have basic fairness in this regard... I hope that colleagues from across the Country, both Republican colleagues of mine and Democratic colleagues on the other side of the aisle, will recognize that a continuation of SALT is in the best interest of the American People."

Video of the announcement can be found HERE.

The text of the bill can be found HERE. And a summary of the bill can be found HERE.

Below: A map identifying "Moochers" -- states taking more in handouts than they are paying in as federal taxes.


Below: Congressman Gottheimer's remarks as prepared for delivery.

We are here today, in the shadow of the Capitol, to stand up and defend New Jersey from the latest onslaught -- those who, once again, want New Jersey to be America’s piggy bank. Today, we are here to say yes to lower taxes, but no to getting there on the backs of our state by eliminating the state and local tax deduction. As it stands, because eliminating this deduction will prevent us from deducting our property, state, and local taxes, New Jersey taxpayer’s tax bills will go up $3,500 a year and housing prices will go down at least ten percent. Beyond that, it will give a huge competitive advantage to payee states like Mississippi – or what I call Moocher States – over states like ours that pay far more in federal taxes every year than they get back.

In other words, this is yet another huge wealth transfer payment from payor states like New Jersey and New York – from our citizens -- to the Moocher states. We are literally subsidizing other states – their roads, their bridges, their fire departments – all at the cost of helping ours. There are various ways to pay for tax reform. But the proponents of the current plan have decided that they would get a tax cut and have residents of New Jersey and a few other states to pay the bill.

New Jersey is one of the top tax paying states in the nation, which is why I’ve been pushing for years to cut taxes for residents and for businesses of all sizes. My district in particular is one of the top three percent tax paying districts in the entire country – way too high. Yet, as you can see on the Moocher Map, we only get back 33 cents for every dollar we send to Washington. Compare that to West Virginia: $4.23, Alabama: $3.14, South Carolina: $2.82, and Mississippi: $4.38.

And now they want to hit us again by killing the state and local tax deduction – a provision that has been around since 1913. It’s a joke.

That’s why Leonard Lance and I have introduced new legislation – the “Return on Investment Accountability Act,” our Anti-Moocher bill – that will address this disparity in federal spending and taxes in the states.

It will give tax credits to individuals whose states get less funding from the federal government than they pay in aggregate. The bill will simply calculate which states are “payers” like us and which ones are the “moochers” – like South Carolina or Kentucky -- and put the difference back into the pockets of payer state residents through tax credits. Why should Alabama get our federal tax dollars and get a free ride, while New Jersey is left holding the bag with higher property taxes? It just doesn’t make sense.

What’s interesting is that if you read the eight-page tax outline we’ve seen so far, and we’re still waiting on all of the specifics, it’s based on vague generalities except for one: New Jersey: Drop Dead.

The math is simple. In the Fifth District: 43% – nearly half – of our taxpayers use the SALT deduction. Those taxpayers deduct an average of $18,535 in SALT. 53% of New Jersey households claiming the deduction make between $75,000 and $100,000.

Don't get me wrong: I want tax reform – I want a simpler tax code and lower taxes. Our taxes are too high and our seventy-five thousand page tax code requires a PhD to understand.

So, I’m eager to see the final plan next week and understand the impact on my District. I’m hopeful that folks come to their senses and stop taking shots at those states like ours that are already paying the heavier load. There are more than 70 Republicans from states that will feel great pain from eliminating the SALT deduction.

I'm prepared to support the right tax bill. But it must be the right tax reform. It must be bipartisan, it must cut taxes for New Jersey. It must be pro-business. It must stand up for hard working folks who play by the rules. And it must not favor one state over another, and push people and businesses away from New Jersey.

No one can stop New Jersey -- unless you literally tie our hands behind our back and throw us in the Hudson. But eliminating the states and local tax deduction is cement shoes.

Thank you.
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