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Last Minute Lobbying Of Congress Members Helps Pass GOP Tax Bill

Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) in Binghamton.

The mayor of Binghamton texted Southern Tier Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) about his worries with the bill - worries that she shared.

But it wasn’t until US Vice President Mike Pence called her Wednesday afternoon that Tenney finally decided to help pass it.

The sticking point? The elimination of a state and local tax deduction - or SALT. The SALT deduction allows taxpayers to offset the burden of state and local taxes by deducting them on their federal return. It protects against “double taxation." That’s when a single source of revenue is taxed twice, like your income being taxed at both the state and federal level.

Under the deduction, people can claim real estate taxes and personal property taxes, like a car or a boat. Plus, either income or sales taxes on their deduction. The SALT deduction only applies to people who itemize their deductions - most people who earn at least $75,000 a year itemize their deductions.

So, eliminating that deduction would have a big impact on high tax states like New York.

Even so, Republican Congressmen Tom Reed (R-Corning) and John Katko (R-Syracuse) also voted to pass the tax overhaul plan and eliminate the tax deduction.

But many other Republican representatives voted against it, including John Faso (R-Kinderhook), whose district covers Deposit and Cooperstown.

Now that the tax overhaul has passed, the representatives have to figure out how to combine it with the Senate’s plan, which includes controversial provisions of its own, like eliminating the requirement that all Americans have health insurance.

Update: An earlier version of this story said Faso’s district includes Westchester County. It does not. Information about itemized deductions has been added for clarity.