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State and Local Tax Increase; Santos Proposes

Representative George Santos’ first bill in Congress addresses a prevalent topic in his Long Island district: the state and local tax (SALT) deduction. (Photo: Crain’s Chicago Business)

Representative George Santos may not be popular among his colleagues or constituents, but his first bill in Congress addresses an extremely popular topic in his Long Island district: the state and local tax (SALT) deduction.

Santos, a New York Republican known for fabricating his resume, education, religion, and family history, introduced legislation on Tuesday that would raise the SALT deduction to $50,000. Extending the SALT deduction, limited to $10,000 in President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul, has long been a source of contention for New Yorkers and residents of other high-tax states.

Increasing the state and local tax deduction would mean homeowners in states like New York, New Jersey, and California could get bigger breaks on their IRS bills — an issue that many Americans are considering as they prepare to file their annual tax returns.

The House is unlikely to vote on the proposed SALT bill this year, as Republicans, who are primarily opposed to increasing the deduction, control the chamber. According to a poll, that would deny Santos the opportunity to bolster his support in a district where nearly 80% of voters want him to resign.

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The state and local tax is unlikely to endear Santos, 34, to his colleagues in the House, where dozens of members, including some fellow New York Republicans, are attempting to expel him.

Representative Nick LaLota, another Long Island Republican who has called for Santos’ resignation, said he would vote against the SALT proposal despite supporting cap increases.

Santos’ bill is one of three introduced in this Congress so far to amend or repeal the SALT cap.

Representative Mike Garcia, a California Republican, has proposed repealing the cap and making it retroactive, allowing taxpayers to claim the deduction’s total value on previous returns as if it had never existed.

Another bill, introduced by New York Republican Representative Michael Lawler, would raise the cap to $20,000 for married couples, eliminating what he calls the “SALT marriage penalty.”

Since being sworn in two months ago, the state and local tax deduction bill is the first bill introduced by Santos, who also represents a portion of the New York City borough of Queens. He’s also signed on as a co-sponsor on 27 bills, including one that would make the AR-15 the national firearm of the United States, another that would prohibit federal funds from going to schools that allow transgender athletes to participate in women’s sports, and another that would mint a coin honoring service dogs.

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