Easiest headline of day: Poll says Jerseyans want SALT cap lifted

Perhaps the only thing surprising about the FDU Poll finding that Jerseyans want their full property tax deduction restored – is that only approximately two of every three residents feel this way.

The June 9-16 poll of registered voters showed 63 percent want the $10,000 federal cap on state and local taxes removed. 

Interestingly, half of those saying it should be restored, say they haven’t been hurt by the provision that was part of the 2017 tax cut pushed by President Donald Trump.

(It should be noted: About a quarter of respondents (26 percent) said they not heard of the SALT cap.)

During a time when partisanship is high, the poll found little difference among Democrats and Republicans on the issue, according to Dan Cassino, a professor of government and politics at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the executive director of the poll.

“It would make sense for this to be a partisan issue, as it’s tied to Trump and to Democratic members of Congress,” Cassino said. “But if there’s one thing that can transcend partisanship, it’s cold, hard cash.”

In 2017, the Republican Congress and President Trump capped the amount of state and local taxes that could be claimed as a deduction on federal taxes to $10,000. That means that anyone who was paying more than $10,000 a year in local taxes – a group that mostly includes residents of high tax states like New Jersey, New York and Connecticut – would see a tax increase, though that might have been offset by other changes in the tax law. 

In 2020, the mean homeowner in New Jersey paid about $9,000 in property taxes, though mean taxes in many counties, especially in North Jersey, are above $10,000. Democratic members of Congress in New Jersey have said that restoring the cap is a top priority, though progress has, so far, been limited.

“The SALT cap was largely seen as an attack on Democratic states,” Cassino said. “Even though it’s mostly impacting residents of wealthier areas in North Jersey, support for restoring the deduction is pretty close to universal.”

The bipartisan nature of views on the SALT deduction are likely due to the widespread impact of the cap on New Jersey voters, Cassino said.  About a third of voters (35 percent) say that the cap has increased their taxes, a figure that’s no different among Republicans (36 percent), Democrats (34 percent), or independents (35 percent). A smaller number (28 percent) say that it hasn’t increased their taxes, and a surprisingly large number of voters (30 percent) say that they’re not sure if it increased their taxes or not.

“For all the coverage that the SALT cap has gotten in the press, it doesn’t directly impact everyone,” Cassino said. “Renters, people with mortgages, anyone who doesn’t itemize their deductions, they may not even notice the difference.”