Politics & Policy

‘Millionaires Don’t Need a New Tax Break’: Grassley Blasts Pelosi’s Attempt to Eliminate SALT Deduction Cap

Sen. Chuck Grassley speaks in Washington, D.C., September 4, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The office of Senator Chuck Grassley on Tuesday panned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s push to repeal the cap on state and local tax deductions in the next coronavirus relief bill.

The SALT deduction cap, which was implemented in 2018 as part of the Republican-led tax reform bill, places a ceiling of $10,000 for deductions from federal returns of property taxes or state and local taxes. The deduction primarily benefits high-earners living in high-tax states.

Pelosi argued that “retroactively” scrapping the deduction cap would inject much-needed cash into American households struggling in an economy flagging from the restrictions placed on business, part of efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

“We could reverse that for 2018 and 2019 so that people could refile their taxes,” Pelosi told the New York Times. “They’d have more disposable income, which is the lifeblood of our economy, a consumer economy that we are.”

Grassley, who chairs the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, dismissed her reasoning on the grounds that eliminating the SALT cap would only mean more tax breaks for the wealthy.

“This is a nonstarter. Millionaires don’t need a new tax break as the federal government spends trillions of dollars to fight a pandemic,” said a spokesperson for the Iowa Republican.

The speaker’s remarks sparked swift pushback from other Republican lawmakers as well.

“If we determine that another measure is necessary, it should not be the vehicle for Speaker Pelosi’s partisan, parochial wish list,” said Senator Patrick Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania.

Repealing the SALT deduction cap totally for just 2019 would result in additional federal revenues of about $77 billion, according to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. About $40 billion of that money would land in the pockets of Americans earning $1 million a year, and the remainder would go to households with an income of $200,000 or more.

The deduction cap is scheduled to expire in 2025.

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