RELEASE: On Tax Day, Gottheimer Announces New Action to Cut Taxes and Make Life More Affordable

Urges Senate to pass bipartisan tax cut bill. Expands Child Tax Credit. Highlights efforts to restore SALT deduction and casework to help constituents solve IRS issues

Apr 15, 2024
Press

Above: Gottheimer discussing his work to lower taxes for Jersey families.

EMERSON, NJ — Today, April 15, 2024, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer announced new action to lower taxes and make life more affordable for Jersey families, small businesses, and communities.

According to the Tax Foundation, New Jersey has an effective state and local tax rate of more than thirteen percent — the sixth highest in the nation. In Bergen County, the median annual property tax bill is $15,000. Jersey was ranked the second most expensive state in the country for childcare last year, costing $442.19 per week on average. New Jersey also has a deficit of 224,500+ affordable housing units. 

Video of today’s announcement can be found here.

Gottheimer Action to Cut Taxes for Jersey Families and Small Businesses:

  1. Sent a bipartisan letter with Representative Don Bacon (NE-2) to Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY), urging them to bring the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act up for an immediate vote.
    1. In January, the House passed this bipartisan tax cut package by a vote of 357 to 70. It has been sitting and waiting for a Senate vote.  
    2. If passed, the package would expand the Child Tax Credit and housing tax credits and cut taxes for small businesses. Specifically, the package would increase the supply of affordable housing by strengthening the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit from 9% to 12.5%, creating 6,000 jobs in New Jersey. If passed, the bipartisan package would unleash new economic growth, help 323,000 New Jersey children, and deliver relief to millions of families and businesses in Jersey and beyond.
  2. Passed four bills out of the House to fully restore the State and Local Tax deduction or SALT.
  3. Helped thousands of North Jersey residents and businesses claw back more than $63 million from the IRS.
    1. Gottheimer was joined by Ridgewood YMCA CFO Chuck Benigno. 
    2. Gottheimer helped his organization claw back more than $1.4 million from the IRS to reinvest into the North Jersey community.

“Families across the state and country are rooting for a refund this Tax Day. But, for far too many Jersey families and small businesses, hefty property and income tax bills are a major source of stress. And with good reason. Their taxes are too high,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Today, I’m excited to share more action I’m taking on every line of the tax bill — local, state, and federal — to help lower taxes for our families and small businesses, including fighting for new tax credits to lower the cost of child care and housing, and to pass tax cuts for Jersey small businesses.  We need to make life more affordable for Jersey families.

Gottheimer continued, “This legislation will expand the Child Tax Credit, a refund used by Jersey families to pay for childcare and other expenses like food and diapers. Jersey was ranked the second most expensive state in the country for childcare last year, at an average of $442.19 a week – up 32 percent since 2019. That’s more than 50 percent of the salary of someone earning minimum wage. The Child Tax Credit will help 323,000 children in Jersey and help parents afford to go to work. It will also lift 400,000 kids out of poverty nationwide. It’s a no brainer.”

“We are gathered to amplify a message that resonates deeply with us all: the urgent need for the U.S. Senate to pass the tax bill,” said Bergen County Commissioner Chairwoman Germaine Ortiz. “This tax bill means more than just legislation. It represents an opportunity to provide much-needed relief for childcare and support to hardworking families, small businesses, and individuals striving to make ends meet. It offers a pathway to a brighter future by easing the tax burden and empowering our community to thrive.”

“I’m also here to thank Representative Gottheimer for his bipartisan efforts in some recent tax legislation, particularly helping childcare costs. The rising cost of childcare, as many of you know, in the last several months has outpaced inflation,” said Ridgewood YMCA Chief Financial Officer Chuck Benigno. “The Ridgewood YMCA does provide childcare services. We have a preschool. We provide before and after care. And as the CFO of that organization, I made the decision to keep our rates flat for the last two years, understanding what a hardship it is, and that goes a long way in fulfilling our mission of never denying anyone services as a nonprofit charitable organization.”

Gottheimer was joined by Bergen County Commissioner Chairwoman Germaine Ortiz, Emerson Police Chief Mark Savino, and Ridgewood YMCA CFO Chuck Benigno.

Below: Gottheimer discussing his work to lower taxes for Jersey families.

Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good morning. Thank you for joining us outside the H&R Block office here in Emerson. Happy Tax Day. Today is the deadline to file your tax return with the IRS or to request an extension. Each year, H&R Block helps 20 million American households file their tax returns, so Tax Day is basically their Super Bowl.

Families across the state and country are rooting for a refund this Tax Day. But, for far too many Jersey families and small businesses, hefty property and income tax bills are a major source of stress. And with good reason. Their taxes are too high. According to the Tax Foundation, New Jersey has an effective state and local tax rate of more than thirteen percent — the sixth highest in the nation. Here in Bergen County, the median annual property tax bill is $15,000. 

Today, I’m excited to share more action I’m taking on every line of the tax bill — local, state, and federal — to help lower taxes for our families and small businesses, including fighting for new tax credits to lower the cost of childcare and housing, and to pass tax cuts for Jersey small businesses. We need to make life more affordable for Jersey families. 

Our state’s sky-high taxes drive people and jobs out of our state. Over the last two years, more than 312,000 residents moved out of Jersey. One-third of the state’s publicly traded companies left over the last decade. In fact, Jersey ranked eighth in outmigration in the entire country, with families and businesses citing affordability and taxes as their chief reasons for departing.

That creates a vicious cycle. As more people pack up to avoid high taxes, those still in Jersey have to shoulder an even heavier tax burden. Surging property taxes, sales taxes, and gas taxes just aren’t sustainable for hardworking New Jersey families. Something’s got to change.

I don’t just want to just focus on our state, though. The federal tax code has plenty of room for improvement as well, and that’s part of what brings us here today. 

We need to make sure that tools like housing tax credits and the Child Tax Credit keep up with the pace of inflation, so families can afford to raise a kid in Jersey. We need to make sure the tax rates on our small businesses don’t deter Americans from bringing and keeping jobs to Jersey – more than half of all of our jobs are from small businesses on Main Street. Finally, we need the right tax incentives in place to encourage research, innovation, new construction, and all the other hallmarks of a vibrant economy. We’re falling short on all counts right now.

Today, I’m proud to highlight three steps that I’m taking to tackle these tax issues and make life more affordable for everyone in Jersey.

First, I’m sending a bipartisan letter today to Senate leaders Schumer and McConnell urging them to urgently take up the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act. This bipartisan tax cut bill will have a huge impact on Jersey’s economy, families, and future. I helped pass it out of the House in January, and it’s been languishing in the Senate ever since. It’s why my fellow Problem Solver Caucus member and Republican Don Bacon are demanding a vote. 

This legislation will expand the Child Tax Credit, a refund used by Jersey families to pay for childcare and other expenses like food and diapers. Jersey was ranked the second most expensive state in the country for childcare last year, at an average of $442.19 a week – up 32 percent since 2019. That’s more than 50 percent of the salary of someone earning minimum wage. The Child Tax Credit will help 323,000 children in Jersey and help parents afford to go to work. It will also lift 400,000 kids out of poverty nationwide. It’s a no brainer. 

The tax cut bill will also make housing more affordable by strengthening the Housing Tax Credit, helping finance 200,000 new housing units nationwide in the next two years and create more than 6,000 jobs right here in Jersey. The bill also helps our small businesses innovate by allowing them to deduct more of their research and development costs. We want to continue innovating and building new technology right here in Jersey, and this tax cut would help us do even more of that. 

This bipartisan bill passed the House by a vote of 357 to 70. I cannot overstate how hard it is to get 350 Members of Congress to agree on where to order lunch, let alone pass a complex tax bill. The bill must move in the Senate and be sent to the President’s desk. We can do it today and give millions a tax cut. 

Second, I’m continuing the fight to restore the State and Local Tax Deduction or SALT, so we can cut taxes for hundreds of thousands of families here in Jersey. In 2017, representatives from the Moocher States, a set of states who take far more federal dollars than they give, rammed through what I call, the Tax Hike Bill. 

As part of that bill, the Red States gutted SALT, putting a $10,000 cap on that deduction. Before the Tax Hike Bill, hardworking families in Bergen used to claim, on average, a $24,000 deduction. So, their taxes went up.

SALT is a middle-class issue in places like Bergen County. 

Since 2017, I’ve helped pass four bills out of the House to restore the SALT deduction – only to have the Red State Moochers in the Senate block it. Here’s the good news: Tax Hike Bill from 2017 has an expiration date. In 2025, if Congress does nothing, which far too many in Washington are good at, the full SALT deduction will come back. 

Finally, when we think about Congress, we tend to only focus on the bills. But, one of the most important parts of my work is helping our families deal with the federal government bureaucracy – including agencies like the IRS. We help families and towns solve tax issues nearly every day.

Today, I’m joined by leadership from the Ridgewood YMCA. When the IRS failed to process their Employee Retention Tax Credits during the pandemic, the Ridgewood YMCA came to my office. Our casework team opened a case with the IRS and in less than six months, delivered more than $1.4 million back to the YMCA. Now, they’re able to invest in even more into our North Jersey community.

The Ridgewood YMCA is just one of the many families and community organizations that we’ve helped with tax issues since I entered office. I’m incredibly proud to share that my team and I have helped Jersey families claw back more than $63 million from the IRS since I entered office in 2017. After two years of battling with the IRS, a servicemember from the Township of Washington knocked on our door, and we helped him get the $11,000 tax refund he deserved. It was his money, and the IRS was sticking it to him. 

When my constituent in Northvale was a victim of identity theft, we worked with him to secure his $2,000 refund and correct a debt notice from the IRS. We helped a man in Ramsey claw back $7,000 from the IRS after he accidentally overpaid. And, after my constituent in Waldwick lost her mother, we helped her track down her late mother’s tax return and secure a $5,000 refund. These are just a few examples. I just want you to know that my door is open to you to help. 

There’s an old adage from Ben Franklin that says the only things guaranteed in life are death and taxes. Taxes may be inevitable, but we can still work every day to get our taxes down, and ensure you never pay a nickel more than you’re supposed to. I won’t stop working across the aisle in Congress to do everything I can to make life more affordable for our families, small businesses, and communities.

If we work together, here in the greatest country in the world, our best days will always be ahead of us.

Thank you. God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

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